(360) 943-9198 info@retailassociationservices.com

Click on a topic to comment/discuss

Categories

Past Topics

RASI Talk

Our Blog/Discussion Area

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Hands-Free Office Phone

As aging occurs, workers can lose flexibility in their neck, shoulders and upper back. Aging workers who use the telephone a lot at their desks might want to consider making a change.

Using a regular telephone handset with your shoulder hunched up and neck kinked over all day could over time can lead to muscle strains, headaches and soreness.

Using the hand set for quick intermittent calls is fine, but if you are on the phone a lot, an effective assist would be by using a ‘hands-free’ head set. This allows a worker to maintain proper posture while taking care of customers on the phone.

Headsets come in a variety of styles including wireless models. These headsets will also allow for volume adjustment when needed.  With this increase of comfort, employees can be more productive regardless of their age.

Rick Means, WRA Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Understand falls to avoid them

It’s important to understand falling on the job to avoid having it happen to you. Often, an employee’s health and physical condition can contribute to a fall and possible injury.

There also are types of falls to understand. For example, slips and trips can cause falls. Typically, slipping involves insufficient friction on the bottom of your shoes, especially where your heel strikes the ground. This can result in a sliding motion and cause your center of gravity to become unsupported. This can cause you to lose balance and fall.

You can also fall by tripping over something you didn’t notice, such as an exposed cord on the floor.

Sometimes falls are affected by the health and physical condition impairing a person’s vision, judgment, and balance. This could be related to stress or illness, compromised eyesight, age, physical fatigue, or medications, alcohol or drugs.

Analyze your situation and ability by focusing on and watching what you are doing so that you are not distracted to avoid falling. There is more information on this topic for WRA members in the RASI Safety Library. Non-members can visit  RASI Safety TV  and look under Slip Trips Falls.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-200-6454, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Heat can be a hazard to workers

When a person works in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. It does this mainly through circulating blood to the skin and through sweating.

When the air temperature is close to or warmer than normal body temperature, cooling of the body becomes more difficult. Blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat.  Sweating then becomes the main way the body cools off.  But sweating is effective only if the humidity level is low enough to allow evaporation and if the fluids and salts that are lost are adequately replaced.

If the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it will store it. When this happens, the body’s core temperature rises and the heart rate increases. As the body continues to store heat, the person begins to lose concentration and has difficulty focusing on a task, may become irritable or sick, and often loses the desire to drink. The next stage is most often fainting and even death if the person is not cooled down.

Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, dizziness, and burns from hot surfaces or steam.

Workers exposed to hot indoor environments or hot and humid conditions outdoors are at risk of heat-related illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky or non-breathable protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions, or if they have certain health conditions.

There is additional information for WRA members in the RASI Safety Library.  There is more for the public at large on heat-related illnesses on RASI Safety TV.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Improve hearing in your shop or office

 Concerts, iPods, cell phones and very loud sporting events may all contribute to loss of hearing over time. It’s true for Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials alike.

Natural hearing loss can start about age 40 regardless of other environmental factors.

When working with older employees, it’s possible they may not properly hear the instructions you just shouted across the room. Sometimes certain tones or frequency ranges ‘drop out’ and become inaudible. Ringing in the ears, a condition known as tinnitus, also can make it difficult to hear warning shouts or instructions in a noisy environment.  An unheard warning shout could result in an injury accident.

Some solutions:

  • Make sure that hearing protection is always worn when noise levels are consistently over 85db (WRA members can find a noise level chart here and there are noise apps for your smart phone here).
  • Try to reduce background noise levels as low as possible by shielding noisy equipment.
  • Provide important information visually.
  • Reduce echoing with improved acoustics.
  • Sirens or warning alarms should have alternating frequencies (think of a European police car siren).
  • Provide hands free telephone headsets with adjustable volume switches.
  • Speak clearly.

Technology can help us improve hearing somewhat, but hearing is something that we can’t get back completely once it deteriorates.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Assign new employees an orientation buddy

Finding enough time to properly orientate your new employees can be a problem. In the first orientation there can be a lot to cover, including policies and paperwork, in a short period of time.

But there is a way to continue the process with orientation buddies.  Every new hire should have an orientation buddy to help him or her get off to a good, safe start. They can show your new workers the safety elements the company has built in including the location of the fire exits and extinguishers; first-aid kits; eyewash stations; chemical safety data sheets and equipment usage.  By imparting safety knowledge along the way, they are having a secondary effect by making the newcomer feel valued, which can lead to a more engaged and productive employee.

In order to carry out these important duties successfully, orientation buddies should:

  • Have been with your organization for at least a year.
  • Have a good performance history and a safe work record.
  • Be skilled in the new employee’s job.
  • Possess broad knowledge about your organization, your operations, and your safety programs.
  • Have the time to spend with the new employee and be willing to take on the assignment.
  • Be patient and communicate well.
  • Serve as a positive safety role model.

Building relationships through this type of mentoring is another way to ensure that new employees have the resources they need to succeed.  Seasoned employees can help new employees on the job and provide support.  New employees tend to be hesitant about asking questions for fear of appearing incompetent.

A company’s orientation program should include easy access to resources to reduce new employee frustration and to provide essential, effective safety training.

Washington Retail has an app that can help your young worker out with some safety basics that can be found here

Safety tip of the week

Safety tip of the week

Orderliness can prevent accidents at work

As far as injuries go, the most critical part of workplace housekeeping is keeping items in order. Are tools strewn about, for example, or in their proper place?

Managers and employees should check regularly to ensure that aisleways are clear for employees and customers.

Some of the benefits of good housekeeping include:

  • Eliminating causes of accidents
  • Preventing wasted energy looking for lost items later on
  • Maintaining good use of available space
  • Reducing damage to goods
  • Encouraging better work habits
  • Reflecting an organized workplace and image

Companies should develop a strategy for good housekeeping. During the day, does your staff periodically stop and survey the floors and shelves to see if there are any hazards for staff or customers?  Make a habit of regularly looking over the store and housekeeping will be easier and prevent potential injuries.

Consider watching RASI SAFETY TV’s The Accident Cascade video that be shown to start a discussion during a safety meeting.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

RASI

Safety tip of the week

Heat can be a hazard to workers

When a person works in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. It does this mainly through circulating blood to the skin and through sweating.

When the air temperature is close to or warmer than normal body temperature, cooling of the body becomes more difficult. Blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat.  Sweating then becomes the main way the body cools off.  But sweating is effective only if the humidity level is low enough to allow evaporation and if the fluids and salts that are lost are adequately replaced.

If the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it will store it. When this happens, the body’s core temperature rises and the heart rate increases. As the body continues to store heat, the person begins to lose concentration and has difficulty focusing on a task, may become irritable or sick, and often loses the desire to drink. The next stage is most often fainting and even death if the person is not cooled down.

Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, dizziness, and burns from hot surfaces or steam.

Workers exposed to hot indoor environments or hot and humid conditions outdoors are at risk of heat-related illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky or non-breathable protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions, or if they have certain health conditions.

There is additional information for WRA members in the RASI Safety Library.  There is more for the public at large on heat-related illnesses on RASI Safety TV.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Improve hearing in your shop or office

 Concerts, iPods, cell phones and very loud sporting events may all contribute to loss of hearing over time. It’s true for Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials alike.

Natural hearing loss can start about age 40 regardless of other environmental factors.

When working with older employees, it’s possible they may not properly hear the instructions you just shouted across the room. Sometimes certain tones or frequency ranges ‘drop out’ and become inaudible. Ringing in the ears, a condition known as tinnitus, also can make it difficult to hear warning shouts or instructions in a noisy environment.  An unheard warning shout could result in an injury accident.

Some solutions:

  • Make sure that hearing protection is always worn when noise levels are consistently over 85db (WRA members can find a noise level chart here and there are noise apps for your smart phone here).
  • Try to reduce background noise levels as low as possible by shielding noisy equipment.
  • Provide important information visually.
  • Reduce echoing with improved acoustics.
  • Sirens or warning alarms should have alternating frequencies (think of a European police car siren).
  • Provide hands free telephone headsets with adjustable volume switches.
  • Speak clearly.

Technology can help us improve hearing somewhat, but hearing is something that we can’t get back completely once it deteriorates.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week

Assign new employees an orientation buddy

Finding enough time to properly orientate your new employees can be a problem. In the first orientation there can be a lot to cover, including policies and paperwork, in a short period of time.

But there is a way to continue the process with orientation buddies.  Every new hire should have an orientation buddy to help him or her get off to a good, safe start. They can show your new workers the safety elements the company has built in including the location of the fire exits and extinguishers; first-aid kits; eyewash stations; chemical safety data sheets and equipment usage.  By imparting safety knowledge along the way, they are having a secondary effect by making the newcomer feel valued, which can lead to a more engaged and productive employee.

In order to carry out these important duties successfully, orientation buddies should:

  • Have been with your organization for at least a year.
  • Have a good performance history and a safe work record.
  • Be skilled in the new employee’s job.
  • Possess broad knowledge about your organization, your operations, and your safety programs.
  • Have the time to spend with the new employee and be willing to take on the assignment.
  • Be patient and communicate well.
  • Serve as a positive safety role model.

Building relationships through this type of mentoring is another way to ensure that new employees have the resources they need to succeed.  Seasoned employees can help new employees on the job and provide support.  New employees tend to be hesitant about asking questions for fear of appearing incompetent.

A company’s orientation program should include easy access to resources to reduce new employee frustration and to provide essential, effective safety training.

Washington Retail has an app that can help your young worker out with some safety basics that can be found here

Safety tip of the week

Orderliness can prevent accidents at work

As far as injuries go, the most critical part of workplace housekeeping is keeping items in order. Are tools strewn about, for example, or in their proper place?

Managers and employees should check regularly to ensure that aisleways are clear for employees and customers.

Some of the benefits of good housekeeping include:

  • Eliminating causes of accidents
  • Preventing wasted energy looking for lost items later on
  • Maintaining good use of available space
  • Reducing damage to goods
  • Encouraging better work habits
  • Reflecting an organized workplace and image

Companies should develop a strategy for good housekeeping. During the day, does your staff periodically stop and survey the floors and shelves to see if there are any hazards for staff or customers?  Make a habit of regularly looking over the store and housekeeping will be easier and prevent potential injuries.

Consider watching RASI SAFETY TV’s The Accident Cascade video that be shown to start a discussion during a safety meeting.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week

Have you seen SAFEME?

The Washington Retail Association is offering a free web-based and smartphone app to help employers get first-time and young employees off to a safer start in the working world. Many first-time employees get their careers going in retail.

SAFEME users can earn basic safety training certificates to augment required safety training from employers. The certificates demonstrate that an entry-level or young worker has a sound understanding of the potential hazards in many different workplaces and how to avoid them. While geared towards retail, the topics can apply to many industries. The lessons include videos and quizzes that demonstrate use of ladders, proper lifting, slips-trips-falls, box knife use and more.

The SAFEME app – on the web at www.wrasafeme.org, is available for Apple and Android phones through the app stores.  A two-minute video of how the app works can be seen here.

The app is courtesy of a grant from Labor & Industries’ Safety and Health Investment Projects. It is aimed particularly at workers aged 16 to 20 who often sustain workplace injuries due to lack of work experience and preparation.  Additional information and resources about this project can be found here.

SAFEME has been viewed/downloaded by hundreds of users in 41states and embraced by educators and businesses alike.

Safer employees reduce injuries and workers’ compensation claims. In Washington State, employers and employees contribute toward paying premiums for injury insurance.  As injuries drop, so do insurance costs.

WRA’s Rick Means is available to members to assist with L&I safety compliance, to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

How to avoid retail-related work injuries

Overdoing it on the job is a typical reason for injuries in the retail industry. Muscle strains and sprains result from a variety of movements including lifting, bending and twisting at the waist, pushing and pulling boxes, carrying items and using poor posture.

Labor & Industries has specific data on retail injuries, which looks like this:

  • One out of every four injuries in retail is from overexertion.
  • The average cost per overexertion claim is a little over $11,500.
  • Overexertion claims represent about 37 percent of workers’ comp costs in retail.
  • Lifting causes about half the overexertion injuries. Carrying ranks second, followed closely by pushing and pulling.
  • Boxes were the most frequent source of injury. Automotive parts also were high on the list of sources of injury.
  • The back was clearly the most frequently injured part of the body. Shoulder injuries were a distant second.

To prevent overexertion:

  • Stretch and/or warm up before heavy lifting or strenuous activity
  • Use hand trucks and carts as much as possible
  • Lift with your legs bent and objects held close to your body
  • Avoid bending, overreaching and twisting when lifting
  • For unusual sized items, get help when lifting

Proper posture, body mechanics and ergonomics can lessen overexertion injuries.  Because it is important that the demands of the job match the capabilities of the worker, extra training may be required to perform a job safely.

Members can find additional information in the Safety Library in the Overexertion section.  RASI SafetyTV  also has some videos on this topic.

 WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Balance work and family needs before a natural disaster

Business owners need to brace for natural disasters to be able to recover quickly and remain in business.

But preparing for an earthquake or flood also requires preparations at home. Your business may not run well if a disaster has torn up your family life, or vice versa.

Personal preparedness goes hand in hand with business continuity plans for business owners.

RASI SAFETY TV has some great videos on how to prepare.  Our Retro members can access even more information in the Safety Library in the Emergency Preparedness section.  Please take some time to review your current personal plan and update it as needed.

A personal preparedness plan resembles a business recovery plan:

  • Mitigate: What can you do to make your personal environment safer?
  • Communicate: How will you communicate with loved ones? Do you have an outside-the-area contact set up?
  • Prepare: What are the supplies you need and where will you store them?
  • Don’t forget to arrange for those with special needs in your family; seniors, infants/children and pets.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943.9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Aging workers may need lighting adjustments

The single largest missing ingredient in workplaces to assist aging workers is proper light and whether it is right for the task at hand. A lighting plan that uses more indirect rays, especially with computer use, creates a better working environment.

Using task-specific lighting is important.  This can be accomplished by using table and desk lamps with soft white lights (or filtered clear bulbs) to reduce glare.  Reducing glare contributes to workstation comfort and in the work area will help to minimize falls.

Pools of light can distort perception of height and depth that could lead to stumbling or tripping.  Uneven brightness patterns can produce shadows or create the illusion of steps or edges where the light and shadow meet.  In those areas, you should introduce gradual changes in light levels.

Each employee and job type needs to be assessed to best accommodate the situation.  The objective is to reduce the possibility of an accident.  Additional information can be found at RASI Safety TV.

Our Retro members also can find resources in the RASI Safety Library, in the Aging in the Workplace section.

Lighting modifications to adjust or install additional lighting often are simple and affordable. Such changes can help seasoned employees and those who are younger, as well.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

WRA

Safety tip of the week

Heat can be a hazard to workers

When a person works in a hot environment, the body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal temperature. It does this mainly through circulating blood to the skin and through sweating.

When the air temperature is close to or warmer than normal body temperature, cooling of the body becomes more difficult. Blood circulated to the skin cannot lose its heat.  Sweating then becomes the main way the body cools off.  But sweating is effective only if the humidity level is low enough to allow evaporation and if the fluids and salts that are lost are adequately replaced.

If the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it will store it. When this happens, the body’s core temperature rises and the heart rate increases. As the body continues to store heat, the person begins to lose concentration and has difficulty focusing on a task, may become irritable or sick, and often loses the desire to drink. The next stage is most often fainting and even death if the person is not cooled down.

Excessive exposure to heat can cause a range of heat-related illnesses, from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke can result in death and requires immediate medical attention.

Exposure to heat can also increase the risk of injuries because of sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, dizziness, and burns from hot surfaces or steam.

Workers exposed to hot indoor environments or hot and humid conditions outdoors are at risk of heat-related illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky or non-breathable protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions, or if they have certain health conditions.

There is additional information for WRA members in the RASI Safety Library.  There is more for the public at large on heat-related illnesses on RASI Safety TV.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Improve hearing in your shop or office

 Concerts, iPods, cell phones and very loud sporting events may all contribute to loss of hearing over time. It’s true for Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials alike.

Natural hearing loss can start about age 40 regardless of other environmental factors.

When working with older employees, it’s possible they may not properly hear the instructions you just shouted across the room. Sometimes certain tones or frequency ranges ‘drop out’ and become inaudible. Ringing in the ears, a condition known as tinnitus, also can make it difficult to hear warning shouts or instructions in a noisy environment.  An unheard warning shout could result in an injury accident.

Some solutions:

  • Make sure that hearing protection is always worn when noise levels are consistently over 85db (WRA members can find a noise level chart here and there are noise apps for your smart phone here).
  • Try to reduce background noise levels as low as possible by shielding noisy equipment.
  • Provide important information visually.
  • Reduce echoing with improved acoustics.
  • Sirens or warning alarms should have alternating frequencies (think of a European police car siren).
  • Provide hands free telephone headsets with adjustable volume switches.
  • Speak clearly.

Technology can help us improve hearing somewhat, but hearing is something that we can’t get back completely once it deteriorates.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week

Assign new employees an orientation buddy

Finding enough time to properly orientate your new employees can be a problem. In the first orientation there can be a lot to cover, including policies and paperwork, in a short period of time.

But there is a way to continue the process with orientation buddies.  Every new hire should have an orientation buddy to help him or her get off to a good, safe start. They can show your new workers the safety elements the company has built in including the location of the fire exits and extinguishers; first-aid kits; eyewash stations; chemical safety data sheets and equipment usage.  By imparting safety knowledge along the way, they are having a secondary effect by making the newcomer feel valued, which can lead to a more engaged and productive employee.

In order to carry out these important duties successfully, orientation buddies should:

  • Have been with your organization for at least a year.
  • Have a good performance history and a safe work record.
  • Be skilled in the new employee’s job.
  • Possess broad knowledge about your organization, your operations, and your safety programs.
  • Have the time to spend with the new employee and be willing to take on the assignment.
  • Be patient and communicate well.
  • Serve as a positive safety role model.

Building relationships through this type of mentoring is another way to ensure that new employees have the resources they need to succeed.  Seasoned employees can help new employees on the job and provide support.  New employees tend to be hesitant about asking questions for fear of appearing incompetent.

A company’s orientation program should include easy access to resources to reduce new employee frustration and to provide essential, effective safety training.

Washington Retail has an app that can help your young worker out with some safety basics that can be found here

Safety tip of the week

Have you seen SAFEME?

The Washington Retail Association is offering a free web-based and smartphone app to help employers get first-time and young employees off to a safer start in the working world. Many first-time employees get their careers going in retail.

SAFEME users can earn basic safety training certificates to augment required safety training from employers. The certificates demonstrate that an entry-level or young worker has a sound understanding of the potential hazards in many different workplaces and how to avoid them. While geared towards retail, the topics can apply to many industries. The lessons include videos and quizzes that demonstrate use of ladders, proper lifting, slips-trips-falls, box knife use and more.

The SAFEME app – on the web at www.wrasafeme.org, is available for Apple and Android phones through the app stores.  A two-minute video of how the app works can be seen here.

The app is courtesy of a grant from Labor & Industries’ Safety and Health Investment Projects. It is aimed particularly at workers aged 16 to 20 who often sustain workplace injuries due to lack of work experience and preparation.  Additional information and resources about this project can be found here.

SAFEME has been viewed/downloaded by hundreds of users in 41states and embraced by educators and businesses alike.

Safer employees reduce injuries and workers’ compensation claims. In Washington State, employers and employees contribute toward paying premiums for injury insurance.  As injuries drop, so do insurance costs.

WRA’s Rick Means is available to members to assist with L&I safety compliance, to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Balance work and family needs before a natural disaster

Business owners need to brace for natural disasters to be able to recover quickly and remain in business.

But preparing for an earthquake or flood also requires preparations at home. Your business may not run well if a disaster has torn up your family life, or vice versa.

Personal preparedness goes hand in hand with business continuity plans for business owners.

RASI SAFETY TV has some great videos on how to prepare.  Our Retro members can access even more information in the Safety Library in the Emergency Preparedness section.  Please take some time to review your current personal plan and update it as needed.

A personal preparedness plan resembles a business recovery plan:

  • Mitigate: What can you do to make your personal environment safer?
  • Communicate: How will you communicate with loved ones? Do you have an outside-the-area contact set up?
  • Prepare: What are the supplies you need and where will you store them?
  • Don’t forget to arrange for those with special needs in your family; seniors, infants/children and pets.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943.9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Aging workers may need lighting adjustments

The single largest missing ingredient in workplaces to assist aging workers is proper light and whether it is right for the task at hand. A lighting plan that uses more indirect rays, especially with computer use, creates a better working environment.

Using task-specific lighting is important.  This can be accomplished by using table and desk lamps with soft white lights (or filtered clear bulbs) to reduce glare.  Reducing glare contributes to workstation comfort and in the work area will help to minimize falls.

Pools of light can distort perception of height and depth that could lead to stumbling or tripping.  Uneven brightness patterns can produce shadows or create the illusion of steps or edges where the light and shadow meet.  In those areas, you should introduce gradual changes in light levels.

Each employee and job type needs to be assessed to best accommodate the situation.  The objective is to reduce the possibility of an accident.  Additional information can be found at RASI Safety TV.

Our Retro members also can find resources in the RASI Safety Library, in the Aging in the Workplace section.

Lighting modifications to adjust or install additional lighting often are simple and affordable. Such changes can help seasoned employees and those who are younger, as well.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week:

Get familiar with fire extinguishers

Don’t forget to make sure your fire extinguishers are working and accessible in case of a fire. It’s also a good idea to post a map of extinguisher locations and exit routes from your workplace.

The most common A-B-C extinguisher can be used on all types of fires. It will work on combustible materials, electrical and flammable liquids.  You should check on what your local code requirements are regarding how many extinguishers you need and the recommended height to mount them on walls.

When using an extinguisher to fight a small fire, try to remember the PASS system. It’s an acronym for how to use an extinguisher:

  • P means pull the pin
  • A is for aim at the base of the fire.
  • S is for squeeze the handle.
  • S is for sweeping the contents in a side to side motion.

Check with your local fire department about visiting your office or plant to provide a live demonstration on use of an extinguisher. Such a demonstration should be part of a new hire orientation.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943.9198 x18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week

Exercises for those in desk jobs

With the constant use of technology, our sedentary desk jobs are pulling us forward – but not in a good way.  We have a tendency to assume a forward head position and to round our shoulders.  You also develop a decreased range of motion in the neck and shoulders.

You can help offset these conditions by trying to move as much as possible during the day.  Some ideas include:

Standing during phone calls.

  • When you have a question for a colleague, get up and go to his or her desk instead of calling or emailing.
  • Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to get up at regular intervals during the day (some companies have installed software on employee computers that monitor your work and tell you when it it’s a time for a break).
  • Use the printer and restroom farthest from your work area when possible.

If leaving your desk at regular intervals isn’t an option, you can work on range of motion in both the neck and shoulders with a few simple movements. All these can be done while seated.

These exercises include:

  • Jaw lifts: With eyes facing forward, tilt your head right leading with your jaw. Keep your eyes forward and don’t twist your neck at the same time. Alternate sides, taking care not to force the movement to pain or move too quickly.
  • Shoulder rolls: Sit tall in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Shrug your shoulders and roll them back, feeling your shoulder blades drawn down as you do. You should feel your chest stretch as your shoulders pull back.
  • Side reaches: From your seated position, raise your right hand straight in the air. Turn your palm in toward the midline of your body and reach left, over your head. Hold for three to five seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat with the left hand.

For videos about this, go to RASI SAFETYTV and members have access to more in the Safety Library.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

(Portions of this article came from U.S. News & World Report)

SAFETY

Safety tip of the week

How to spot alcohol, drug use in the workplace

According to SAMHSA, a federal agency tracking substance abuse, for 2015, there were about 139 million users of alcohol in the USA. Another 24.6 million Americans were illicit drug users, according to estimates.

When you combine those numbers, as well as the new Washington law permitting limited marijuana use, there is a great chance that one of your co-workers could be under the influence of some type.

Alcohol is the most common abuse issue in the workplace, with marijuana second and then misuse of prescription drugs.

Often people under the influence do not adhere to safe practices in the workplace.

To recognize warning signs of substance abuse, look for:

  • Frequent disappearances
  • Excessive sick or personal days
  • Uncharacteristic behavior
  • Rollercoaster work performance
  • Difficulty with relationships.

Substance abuse in the workplace can be devastating. It can impact an employee’s health and working relationships but also can reduce productivity, increase absences and increase the risk of accidents.

Employers should update their substance abuse policies regularly, making sure that alcohol, marijuana, illegal drugs and abuse of prescription drugs are addressed.  For information on how a small business can set a policy, click here.

Here is a good web link with tips for dealing with substance abuse problems in the workplace and here is a SAMHSA report for Washington State.  The RASI Safety Library has a section on Alcohol and Drug abuse for more information.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com

Safety tip of the week

Don’t ignore near accidents

Bob was in a hurry to get a product out of the stock room.  Using a ladder that he could not quite position correctly because there was another object in the way, he went up the ladder to retrieve the item. As he was coming down, Bob felt the ladder sliding to the right.  He was able to correct his balance to stop the ladder from sliding any further and made it down to the ground safely.

The result was no injury, this time.

Scenarios like this happen in different ways, different places and often involve power equipment.  But, the sliding ladder was close to becoming an accident and needs to be addressed so that it doesn’t happen again.

Encourage employees to report near accidents so they can be evaluated and result in safety improvements that can be followed. Precautions aren’t required to slow an employee down but rather to keep them healthy and able to work.

WRA’s  RASI Safety Library has a section on near accidents that you can use at your Safety Meeting.

Rick is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety Tip of the Week

Accidents reduce the size of paychecks

Many employers try to find ways to get employees to do their job as safely as possible. An effective way might be to explain that workplace accidents cost employees in their paychecks.

Part of the insurance premium that Labor & Industries charges a company is also passed on to employees in their paychecks.  If your business is accident prone, everyone’s take home pay will be affected.

It benefits employees to remain safe in order to keep insurance rates as low as possible. A good safety record also can earn a company accident-free discounts (just like your car insurance).

Lower rates mean that the employee portion of the premium will also go down. Employees who see unsafe work habits should remind their co-workers that accidents cost all employees in smaller paychecks.

Here is a link to an example of how the rate change affects take home pay. The term “experience factor” refers to an insurance calculation that compares a company’s actual injury losses and its expected losses. Insurance expenses rise as an experience factor rises.

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist,  is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.