Posts by Toya Turner

Human Resource Consultant

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel in the Office

Carpal tunnel is caused by repetitive hand or wrist motions and affects the median nerve in the wrist and can lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hand or arm.  There are many things that you can do that can help prevent carpal tunnel while you are at work or home.  Proper posture and keeping your wrists straight are very important, yet a quick and easy ways to prevent carpal tunnel.  Below are other tips you can use to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel.

  • Your forearms should be level with the keyboard and you should not have to flex in order to type.
  • Hold your hands and wrists at a 90 degree angle with your forearm – If you work at a keyboard, you may have to tilt it to help keep the alignment.
  • Keep elbows close to your side and don’t let your hands, wrists, or elbows rest on any surface while working.
  • Use a pad across the front of the keyboard, this will help cushion and elevate your wrist and reduce the strain that is usually put on them.
  • The way you may be sitting can cause a strain on your wrist – Make sure your chair is adjusted to the correct height
  • Avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time – Take breaks every 10 to 15 minutes to stretch and rotate your wrists.
  • If the task only requires the use of one hand for repetitive motion try and switch hands – Using both hands will help reduce the strain you are putting on them.
  • Avoid gripping things (such as a tool or mouse) too tightly – Many people tend to grip pens and other equipment tighter than necessary which can cause the muscles to strain.

Arm and wrist muscle stretches are an easy way to prevent carpel tunnel.  Below are a few easy exercises you can do at your desk to help reduce the risk of carpal tunnel.

  • Extend your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing forward – Hold this position for 5 seconds.
  • Straighten both wrists and relax your fingers. They should by pointing in front of you but not stiff. Then make a fist with both hands, bend both wrist down so your knuckles are facing the floor – Hold this position for five seconds.
  • Let your arms hang loosely at your side. Shake them for a few seconds – Repeat this ten times.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel in the Office

Prevent Machinery Related Injuries

Crushed hands and arms, severed fingers, and blindness are just a few of the long horrifying list of possible machinery-related injuries.

Stop Button

Any machine part, function or process that may cause injury must be safeguarded to ensure you are protecting yourself while operating machinery.  Accidents usually result from a combination of factors that include both hazardous machine conditions and careless human actions.  Safety procedures like Lockout/Tagout are critical for the service and maintenance of machinery or electrical systems where employees or students could be hurt by the unexpected start up, or energization, of the equipment.

Safety Tips:

  • Recognize the hazards by identifying all actions and hazards associated with each piece of equipment or machinery.
  • Ensure proper use of safeguarding and reinforce the program by training, education and enforcement.
  • Develop an effective Lockout/Tagout program to ensure that machines and circuits are properly shut off or de-energized to prevent unexpected startups.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing and jewelry and keep long hair tied back.
  • Use proper methods of safeguarding.

Poster-Eye-Protection2

What a Pain – Elbow Sprains and Strains

Tennise-ElbowRepetitive stress injuries are temporary or permanent injuries to muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons that are caused by performing the same motion over and over again. Common repetitive motion injuries are carpal tunnel syndrome, epicondylitis or “tennis elbow.”

Epicondylitis or “tennis elbow” typically is caused by using certain tools over and over for long periods of time, often in an awkward position. Injuries of this type are painful and can be debilitating, so it’s important to identify repetitive tasks and take steps to reduce the risk of repetitive motion injuries.

Ways to Prevent Elbow Sprains and Strains:

  • Look for a tool that needs less force to use and a handle that fits your hand well.
  • Make sure that the tools you use are in good condition.
  • Keep your wrists as straight as possible when using tools.
  • Use power tools when possible to minimize stress on wrists, hands, and arms.
  • Keep tools in good condition to reduce vibration and the force required to use them.

Common Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Misconceptions

PPEPersonal protective equipment (PPE) helps to keep millions of employees safe in the workplace. From goggles to steel-toe boots, PPE plays a vital part in reducing employee exposure to hazards.  Below are common PPE misconceptions:

  • “If my staff won’t wear PPE, I can’t make them”
    • If PPE has been deemed necessary, then it is not optional and employers can require its use.
  • “The more PPE I wear the better”
    • Overprotection and under protection can be equally dangerous, according to the Kimberly-Clark Professional: Exceptional Workplaces website.
      • Overprotection may lead to heat stress caused by wearing too many layers.
      • Under protection may lead to chronic health problems after years of exposure to certain hazardous substances.
      • Find PPE that offers the best protection and that provides the greatest comfort to the wearer.
  • “Gloves are slippery, I can’t get a good grip” or “I can’t wear gloves, I have a latex allergy”
    • Find gloves that have a textured finish on the fingertips, they will make it easier to grasp small and lightweight objects such as test tubes and glassware.
    •  Individuals with a latex allergy can switch to a alternative, such as nitrile, neoprene or vinyl gloves.
  • “This job will only take a minute, I can skip putting on PPE” Or “One piece of PPE is good enough”
    • It only takes a second for an accident to occur. Whether the job only puts you in a hazardous situation for 10 minutes or 10 hours, you still need to have on all required PPE. Exceptions lead to injuries and deaths.PPE
    • You need to wear all PPE that is required for a particular job. If you don’t, it could have serious ramifications, like injury and death. While working with chemicals you may be wearing glasses to protect your eyes, but if you’re not wearing gloves or a proper jacket your hands and body are vulnerable to chemical burns. When deciding what types of PPE are needed for a job, consider all areas of the body, from head to toe and everywhere in between.
  • “Cleaning and storing PPE isn’t that important”
    • After each use, PPE must be properly cleaned and stored according to their instructions. If PPE is damaged it won’t function the way it’s intended which leaves you open to injury and health hazards. Damaged or worn-out PPE should be immediately be replaced.

Confined Spaces Safety

Confined spaces are either partially or completely enclosed working environments. They are only meant for short term single worker occupancy and are dangerous. Only trained workers who understand the hazards and dangers as well as all safety requirements are allowed to enter these areas.

The workplace safety infographic below identifies the four key characteristics of confined spaces and provides a clear explanation and illustration for safety.

Confined Spaces Safety

Courtesy of Compliance & Safety

Seasonal Safety – Hello Summer! Part 2

Summer Safety TipsTypically we are still anticipating the warm summer days this time of year, but summer has arrived with record breaking force. While some of us are excited for summer’s long days filled with warmth and fun, there can be a not-so-sunny side to hot summer days.  Visits to the emergency room tend to peak during summertime.

Don’t let summertime hazards ruin your summer; from heat-related illness to water safety, from travel to cookouts, Kaiser Permanente has some great safety tips to protect ourselves and our family. They’ve also created this awesome infographic that would be a perfect reminder to post on your fridge.

Enjoy the Summer Sun, But Be Safe!