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Safety tip of the week:

Safety tip of the week:

Find out why employees take safety risks?

After a worker takes an unnecessary safety risk, have you ever thought “Why did they do that?”

When workers take a risk, it tends to be spontaneous. It’s important to understand the reasons workers ignore safety precautions to work on restoring workplace standards.

Why would an employee remove a safety guard while a machine is still running?  Why would a person overexert themselves when lifting a large object instead of asking for help?  Why are people texting while walking, or driving, when their focus should be on their ever-changing surroundings?

To the worker, the motivation could be just wanting to finish the task at hand even if a new distraction or hazard popped up.  To discourage these unnecessary risks:

  • Ask questions. Find out what motivates workers and where the strongest sources of resistance are.  Help them be more aware of what influences their decisionmaking.
  • Tell stories. They can make the risk feel closer to home by sharing specific stories from actual co-workers about why they, too, took an injury risk on the job.
  • Educate.  Explain that it is human nature to take a safety risk rather than stopping to make a situation safer.   But the need is to remove risk-taking to avoid injuries on the job.

This is another reason that safety meetings that allow for employee feedback are so important.  There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV and our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can help to address this topic.

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

Safety tip of the week

Your safety bulletin board

The Washington Code publishes basic requirements for what should be on your company bulletin board.

You must:

  • Install and maintain a safety bulletin board in every fixed workplace that has eight or more employees. Make sure the bulletin board is large enough to post information such as:

–       Safety bulletins

–       Safety newsletters

–       Safety posters

–       Accident statistics (OSHA 300A form)

–       Other safety educational material

WRA sends out a monthly safety packet including items to go on your safety bulletin board.  Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, suggests that your Safety Meeting notes also be posted there.  Remember Labor and Industries requires that you keep 12 of the last safety meetings’ notes on hand for review by employees.

Members can find past issues of the RASI SAFETY Meetings archive here.

WRA employs Rick in part, to help members remain in compliance with L&I safety requirements. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.

Safety tip of the week :

Safety tip of the week :

Employers need to provide protective equipment

Employers in Washington State are required to provide employees with protective equipment if they have been unable to eliminate injury hazards in the workplace.

The state requires employers to make sure employees are properly trained in the use and care of protective equipment. Such equipment could be used to protect the eyes, face, head, body, arms, hands, legs, and feet with items such as goggles, helmets, head covers, gloves, rubber slickers, disposable coveralls, respirators, protective shields and barriers.  WAC 296-800-160

Even if a worker buy his own safety shoes, for example, the employer must ensure that the equipment is adequate to protect the worker from hazards on the job.

Retraining is required if an employer has reason to believe an employee lacks understanding or motivation to properly use protective equipment. Also, if an employer has changed job processes with new equipment, this would call for a review of any job hazard analysis and the new PPE needs, if any.

There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV‘s personal protective equipment section.  Our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can be helpful.

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:

L&I’s top 10 rule violations

 The table below shows the most common safety and health rule violations cited during Labor & Industries’ inspections for federal fiscal year 2016 (Oct.1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016). This information can help strengthen your workplace safety program and prevent costly injuries and illnesses.

The list excludes construction and agriculture. The links provide further information about what is required in the topic area.

 

Topic Area Resources
Employer Chemical Hazard Communication Hazard Communication and GHS
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment
Safety Committees and Safety Meetings Safety Meetings/Committees
Accident Prevention Program Accident Prevention Program (APP)
Basic Electrical Rules Electrical Hazards
First-Aid First Aid
Asbestos, Tremolite, Anthophyllite, and Actinolite Asbestos
Portable Fire Extinguishers Fire Extinguishers
Confined Space Permit Entry Confined Space
Injury & Illness Record keeping Requirements Recordkeeping & Reporting Worker Injuries

 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

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

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.

RASI

Safety tip of the week:

L&I’s top 10 rule violations

 The table below shows the most common safety and health rule violations cited during Labor & Industries’ inspections for federal fiscal year 2016 (Oct.1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016). This information can help strengthen your workplace safety program and prevent costly injuries and illnesses.

The list excludes construction and agriculture. The links provide further information about what is required in the topic area.

 

Topic Area Resources
Employer Chemical Hazard Communication Hazard Communication and GHS
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment
Safety Committees and Safety Meetings Safety Meetings/Committees
Accident Prevention Program Accident Prevention Program (APP)
Basic Electrical Rules Electrical Hazards
First-Aid First Aid
Asbestos, Tremolite, Anthophyllite, and Actinolite Asbestos
Portable Fire Extinguishers Fire Extinguishers
Confined Space Permit Entry Confined Space
Injury & Illness Record keeping Requirements Recordkeeping & Reporting Worker Injuries

 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

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.

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

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

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

WRA

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.

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

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

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

Safety tip of the week

How to avoid slipping up

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace accidents. Falls can cause serious injuries and even death.  Most slip, trip, and fall incidents are preventable with general precautions and safety measures.

Here are a few definitions for these accidents:

 Slip – A slip occurs when there is too little traction or friction between the shoe and the walking surface and can cause you to be off-balance.

Trip – A trip occurs when a person contacts an object in their way or drops to a lower level unexpectedly, causing them to be thrown off-balance.

Fall – A fall occurs when you are too far off balance.  There are two types of falls:

  • Same Level – Fall to the surface you are walking on. Same-level falls are more common and are usually caused by slips and trips.
  • From Elevation – Falls from elevation are more severe and are usually caused by ladders, stairs, platforms, and loading docks.

Housekeeping is the first and most fundamental way to prevent falls due to slips and trips.  Without good housekeeping practices, any other preventive measures such as installation of sophisticated flooring, specialty footwear or training on techniques of walking will never be fully effective.

Other ways to help in preventing slips, trips and falls:

  • Don’t be in a hurry
  • Don’t be distracted and focus on the task until it is completed
  • Wear appropriate shoes for the work conditions
  • Get better lighting where needed
  • Balance the load that you are carrying

RASI SafetyTV has some videos on this topic. It can be a good discussion item for safety meetings.

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

Is your Accident Prevention Program (APP) current?

All employers in Washington State are required to create a written Accident Prevention Program (APP).  Many businesses regard their APP as the cornerstone of their overall safety program.

In order to meet written program and other APP requirements businesses will need to:

  • Look around to identify workplace hazards that could hurt employees.
  • Find and apply ways to reduce or eliminate hazards.
  • Provide a detailed safety orientation to employees so they understand the possible hazards of their particular job and how to work safely.

In addition to APP requirements, other health & safety program requirements may apply to your business depending on the activities and hazards in your workplace.

If you do not have an APP, you better get one going real soon, as OSHA inspectors have this item high on their checklist. WRA has a basic template available in the RASI Safety Library to help you get started and Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to help you fine tune it.

If you have a current APP but it is a few years old, take some time to review it and see if it is still meeting the needs of your company.  You most likely will find some things have changed and need to be updated.

The beginning of the New Year is a good time to be paying attention to some of these details that were put on the back burner during last holiday season.

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:

Try active sitting or standing to improve health

We were born to move, so how can you help your body while you are sitting at work?  You can practice active sitting.

Conventional chairs provide passive support while the chair does all the work.  This type of inactivity can lead to future health problems.  So, what is active sitting?

There are ways to break up some of that passive sitting with chairs that cause you to do a little work at your desk.  You may have seen the two -bench version where your knees rest on one bench and you sit on the other bench.  There is a stationary version and a rocking version.  These will make you sit straighter and allow your body do more of the work to sit.

Another type of chair reminds me of a single-legged stool.  It has a flat base with the ability to bend and is adjustable for height. You can rock some while you sit and get some exercise, too.  Active sitting gives you a chance. They also say that active sitting burns more calories.

There are other ways to make daily sitting more active. Trying standing when you take phone calls.  Another option is to switch to a desk that raises and lowers.  That way you can spend part of your day standing and the other part sitting.  Anything you can do to not be sitting at the office all day will help with your overall energy throughout the day and is healthier for you.

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.