Archive for the ‘Saftey Training’ category

Sitting…Getting a “Bum” Rap

October 31, 2017

See what we did there? 😉

Pardon the title pun but recently there was yet another article about the dangers of sitting.  “Sitting Most of the Day May Lead to an Early Grave”  was the headline. This,  on the heels of “Sitting is the New Smoking” and other articles about sitting,  is creating some major concern for those millions of people that predominantly sit for a living.

99373800-1024x537The human body was designed for us Homo Sapiens to survive well at the top of the food chain.  Living things that were mobile tended to have clear advantages over those that weren’t.  Mobility is a key feature of the human blueprint.  In fact, per studies quoted in the article above and more, we are severely penalized if we don’t use this “gift” of mobility.

We live in gravity 24/7 and the goal of gravity is to drive everything, including us to the center of earth.  Not a pleasant thought when you think about it.   However, our bodies are designed to live in gravity.  We NEED gravity to survive.  Resisting gravity is critical to our health.  In fact accelerated aging is being linked to those who don’t or can’t resist gravity.

space-hair-nybergIf we aren’t being mobile, gravity is winning.  A wonderful book about the effects of sitting is “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals” by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D.(NASA).  Her research found similar physical maladies with astronauts who lived in no gravity environments (space) and office workers, whom while sitting are not exerting against gravity.  Apparently the body thrives on motion and the exertion against gravity.

Well what are the millions of people that sit for a living supposed to do with all this doom and gloom around sitting?  Not go to work?  Or stand up all day?  The good news is there are things we can do to counter the effects of sitting.  According to Dr. Vernikos, merely standing up often during your day can counter the effects of sitting.  Move your printer or cell phone away from your desk so that you need to get up to attend to them.  Set an alarm every 20 minutes to stand up.lxpu-1432506798-133948-full

How about this simple very healthy tip-DRINK LOTS OF WATER!!!  Not only will you stay hydrated but you will be forced to stand up and walk to the bathroom. Therapeutic indeed!!

And last but not least, who TRAINED you how to sit?  Yes, there are ways to sit properly.  In fact if you don’t sit properly your symptoms can be: neck and shoulder discomfort, low back pain, headaches, wrist and forearm discomfort or pain, eye strain, fatigue and a general feeling of malaise.

Today, millions of people sit in positions that are dictated by where their keyboard lies, where their mouse is located, the position of their monitor and whatever their chair settings are adjusted to.   They are being victims to never before being taught how to sit properly.  So basic, yet so vital.

Sittingsafe® is a new form of office ergonomic training.  You can learn how to positon your body in optimal positions, how to stretch away discomfort and stress and how to maintain your body’s mobility.    We don’t have to be the victims of sitting.  We can sit and be healthy.  You just need to know how!!

Dennis Downing, CEO

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Getting Older Doesn’t Have To Hurt!

October 16, 2017

payments-2Aging is an interesting process.  We get wiser, more confident in who we are, more competent in our chosen line of work and hobbies, and overall settle in to our way of life.

There is also another phenomenon that occurs.  Most people as they age experience an onset of aches and pains.  It isn’t something that just happens overnight.  It happens via an insidious gradient, little by little until one day it registers as discomfort or pain.

Then with life going 100 miles per hour, we ignore this non-optimum condition with hopes of it disappearing, or simply acquiescing and justify it by assuming it is just “aging”.

Let me pose this question:  Do you feel discomfort or pain on your body?  Many readers will answer “yes” to this question.  After your “personal pain audit” you may have discovered something not optimum in your low back, neck and shoulders, dull head ache, wrist or forearms.plumber-with-back-pain_1368-544

I have asked people “Why do you put up with this discomfort?”  Many answer “I guess it is just me aging” and most don’t know it is possible to get rid of it.

I can go on a major rant right now on how poorly served we are by a society that has never taught us how to manage our own pain and discomfort, instead directing us to see prescriptions and surgeons.  But I will refrain!

The cycle of a typical sprain/strain injury event is fatigue (a muscle or joint tiring from sustained postures, repetitive stress, etc.), discomfort, pain and then if unattended to, the injury.

We have been dedicated, for 25 years, to teaching employees and management how to self manage their own health.  It is so simple to do!  Cumulative micro-trauma is the cause of most sprain/strains. The discomfort that you earlier detected on your body is stored micro trauma.

For most of us, all we have to do are 3 things to alleviate it or even permanently get rid of it.

Isolate the cause—what postures or repetitive activity is the primary cause.

Change the physical behaviors that are causing it (lifting, pushing, pulling incorrectly, sitting incorrectly, keyboard, mouse, monitor in incorrect positions, etc.)

Relieve aches and pains with the correct stretches using the correct technique in the correct order.

We have discovered that much musculoskeletal discomfort and pain is preventable.  Backsafe® is our training workshops that teaches employees in just 2 hours how to do physical work on and off the job and teaches simple yet powerful stretches that rid the body of that pent up discomfort creeping in on their lifestyles.  This pent up discomfort left unattended can accumulate to a point that causes the $50,000 claim and lost work time.  Finally a workable solution to back and shoulder claims, right!!

Sittingsafe® is our office ergonomic training program that teaches people how to sit correctly and how to adjust their existing workstations so not to cause pain and discomfort; and the Sittingsafe stretches are almost too good to be true!  Headaches, neck and shoulder pain, low back pain have disappeared by just knowing what stretch to do to relieve it, combined with correcting the exacerbating sitting and working positions.

draft_lens17603987module148010435photo_1296861127No-medicationIn summary, aging doesn’t have to be accompanied by pain and discomfort.  We don’t need pain medications to live our lives.  The body is a miraculous contrivance.  It heals well if given the chance.

We teach people what we all should have learned years ago—How to self manage musculoskeletal discomfort; how to prevent painful injuries; and how to stay away from pain medications and unnecessary surgeries.

Contact us (800.775.225) to discuss how we can help put your employees more in charge of their own health.  It is a win-win.  Employees not in pain and windfall savings for the company.

Keeping Your Workforce Safe & Healthy

October 2, 2017
12086-accident30793582_m_0_editedBack injuries have been the bane of industry for decades. They are the source of high dollar claims, significant lost workdays, and can instantaneously ruin one’s quality of life forever.
Corporate America, despite many attempts, has not been able to significantly reduce the frequency or severity of back injuries to any desired degree. Back injuries (and other sprain/strain injuries) continue to cost Corporate America lost production and billions of dollars of lost profits every year.
There have been many attempts to mitigate this problem. Back belts, ergonomics, and training have been tried. Back belts did not achieve the desired effect, ergonomic interventions have helped mechanize many lift tasks, but does not seem to be the complete answer, and training, well what about training?243a4eace2cd4a921d9064dabec3e01e--gymnastics-moves-olympic-gymnastics
We have all heard that training people on how to use their bodies correctly does not yield results. Many of us have witnessed this first hand. But how can that be? We can teach a 12 year old girl to do a back flip on a balance beam that is four inches wide and four feet of the ground; we can teach a 4 year old how to swim; we can teach a monkey to jump rope; and even I learned how to eat Chinese food with chopsticks; yet we have not been able to teach willing adults how to lift a box correctly.
In the mid 1990’s, based on a study conducted, it was pronounced by a well-known medical journal that back training does not work!
Does this make sense? Well it didn’t to me. What then are we missing?
We have employers not wanting employees to be injured. We have employees not wanting to become injured. No conflict of purpose there.
We can train athletes of any age to do and repeatedly perform tremendous physical feats, yet responsible workers are being labeled as untrainable?
I had the good fortune of meeting the Doctor who conducted the previous mentioned study and who concluded that training does not work to reduce sprain/strain injuries. The thought process was to discover what methodology was used and how this conclusion came to be.
I discovered very good intentions, but severe problems in the design of the training protocols. In fact, it was so flawed there was zero chance of reducing injuries. The obvious flaws were:
  • There was very little management support.
  • Employee buy-in was non-existent.
  • And the biggest problem was the training was theory and demonstration only. There was no practical or experiential module for the employees to learn by doing.
There is not one physical activity that one can learn without doing that activity. “Back schools” have typically been theory only (video or experts talking about it). Would you teach your four year old to swim with only a video and then introduce them to the ten foot end of the pool? Then why, in essence, are we doing that to our employees?
Training to reduce costly injuries does work. The return on investment in many cases is phenomenal. When one applies the correct methodology to teaching employees how to perform activities of daily living, employees will eagerly listen and learn even amongst groups with questionable morale.
The formula for successful injury prevention training must include:
Care about your employees – Your goal is not to lower workers’ compensation costs when conducting an injury prevention training. Your goal is to help your employees to go home healthy everyday; then you will see your workers comp costs decline.
Employees must buy-in – You cannot mandate proper lifting or sitting techniques. It must be a self-determined decision of each employee to apply healthy body movement at home and on the job for their own well being.
The theory content must be customized for your employees – Job specific training hits home and facilitates employee acceptance.
Workers at a warehouse with thumbs upPractical Module – All physical skill training must be drilled to be assimilated. The value of any training is only as good as it is applied.
Employee Enlightenment – “Wow, no wonder I have been hurting all these years!” “This is good stuff!” Employees must feel the benefits of the training during the training and know it can make a difference in their lives.
Commitment – The employees, based on their new knowledge of how to control their own health, must commit to use these skills on and off the job.
There are other steps to perpetuate a successful back training implementation that will ensure long-term benefits. However, without an initial workshop that impinges upon the employees, designed specifically for them, and taught in a way that changes attitudes and behavior, reinforcement measures will yield little benefit.
The bottom line is that a correct training program does prevent back injuries.  Backsafe® and Sittingsafe® are practical and proven options for injury prevention training.  We’ve got it figured out and we’re ready to help!

Back Pain is NOT a Normal Condition!

June 27, 2017

back-painI recently read an article that claimed that back pain is a normal human condition!  Although it is true that 80% of the US population will suffer from back pain in their lives, it does not mean it is a “normal human condition”.

It would be like saying illiteracy in the 1800’s was a “normal human condition”.  Granted it was “normal” to be uneducated at the time, but to brand that condition a “normal human condition” would have been a major mischaracterization as in 2003 in many parts of the world the literacy rate was over 90% (99% in the US). (Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2016) – ‘Literacy’. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/literacy/ [Online Resource])

Is it then possible to theorize that one can educate oneself on how to prevent back pain from ever occurring in the first place?  Is our society  functionally illiterate regarding the spine, one of the most important parts of our bodies?

Back Basics

25 years ago FIT was established to prevent back and shoulder injuries (and since then, office ergonomic injuries too).  Our first discovery was that most back injuries are caused by what we call CMT (cumulative micro trauma).  CMT is an accumulation of tiny physical transgressions on our bodies that over time add up to fatigue, discomfort, pain and if continued, injury.

Secondly, we discovered shockingly, that as a culture we are virtually 100% illiterate as to the structure and practical function of our spines.  This lack of understanding leads to a life of accumulating unnecessary CMT!

80% of the US population will experience back pain.  A back injury can, in a brief moment, change one’s life or cause one to be on potentially addictive pain medication.  Yet despite this horrific “natural human condition” no one has educated us (properly!) on how to perform normal activities of daily living in a way that would prevent CMT and its painful manifestations.

38678647-quiz-wallpapersProof

How many cylinders do you have in your car?  4, 6 or 8?  70% of you or so will know that answer.  How many bones (vertebrae) make up your spine?  I will wait while you google this, because, like me years ago, I had NO IDEA!  Why are there curves in your spine?  How many curves?  We know more about our darn cars and trucks than we do our backs and we can replace our vehicles!  Don’t feel bad, virtually 100% of us are functionally illiterate relating to our back and how to use it properly.

The spine is an engineering feat!  You have to really work hard to “earn” a back injury.  You have 24 bones:  7 cervical (neck), 12 thoracic (hump in your mid back); and 5 lumbar (base of spine)…and 3 curves.

After “practically educating” over one million employees about the very simple laws of lifting and living in a world with a 24/7 gravitational force, we can 100% pronounce that when people become educated why and on how to lift, bend, work, care for their children, mow the lawn, shovel snow, do laundry, work on a computer, in other words “live life”, injuries plummet.

We trained 20,000 flight attendants for an airline on how to do their work and life duties and how to properly stretch away CMT, and back and neck injuries dropped 63%!

SAMPLE TIP

171092762-300x200Our Backsafe® on-site workshops experientially educate workers on how to NOT become a victim of back and shoulder pain.  One of our Backsafe laws to prevent CMT is never reach for or with a load.  Holding a box, baby, or bundle close to you significantly reduces “intradiscal” pressure on your spine.  A 10 pound object held 10” away from you becomes a virtual weight of 100 pounds on your spine.

Do this exercise:  Stand up.  Hold your arms out in front of you for a few seconds or until you feel a little fatigue.  This is 12% of your body weight.  Now relax your arms to a normal position and feel the relief.  The relief you feel is your body thanking you for keeping your arms close to your body.

Now make believe you have a box or laundry basket in your hands and you want to set it down on a desk or table.  Move close to the table whereby you can set the “load” down without reaching.  How pathetically simple!  Yet, extremely beneficial to know and apply to your life.

FIT wants to increase employees’ physical literacy as pertains to musculoskeletal well-being.  The beautiful part about our process is no matter an organization’s morale, employees are eager to know how to relieve pain and discomfort and willingly buy-in to change their behaviors on and off the job.

Email or call us at (800) 775.2225 and schedule an interview to learn how we can help your employees and help your company to prevent painful injuries and to save money in 2017.

Sincerely,

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc. 

 

The Mouse is a BIG deal! Who knew?

June 23, 2017

Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive…Part Three

In our last 2 editions of “Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive” we began our discussion on how to prevent insidious pains and discomforts caused by sitting and working on computers.   These physical inconveniences along with fatigue and headaches are the result of “cumulative micro trauma” (CMT).  It fits the definition of insidious perfectly as CMT is apparently hidden to most people until the “micro trauma” accumulates enough to cause the above mentioned physical manifestations.

happy-at-work-saidaonlineThe GOOD news is just because you sit while working and use a computer and a phone (Oh my goodness!!) doesn’t mean you have to feel bad!  There is a technique for everything in life and FIT’s Laws of Sitting help people to prevent and eliminate CMT.

In our last publication I mentioned neck and shoulder discomfort and how a monitor’s position can predispose one to these conditions.  Well guess what else is causing countless people across globe neck, shoulder, headaches and wrist issues?  It only weighs a few ounces but causes tons of pain to many people.  The MOUSE’s position dictates where 6% of your body’s weight is positioned.  Yes your arm and shoulder weigh approximately 6% of your body weight.

Crispy-Computer-mouse-top-down-viewCheck this out.  Bend your elbow to a 90 degree angle with it next to your body.  Now push your elbow (arm) away from your body about 4 inches, the approximate position people are in when working with their mouse.  Hold your arm in that position for 30 seconds or so, or until you feel discomfort.  Please notice where the discomfort is registering on your body.  Now put your arm back close and next to your body again.  Do you feel sudden relief?

You will significantly reduce neck and shoulder discomfort (and even some headaches) by keeping your elbow close to your body when “mousing”.   The basics of office ergonomics are VERY SIMPLE.  All of us can better control how we feel on and off the job by learning the how to sit and use our electronics properly.  Call us to discuss our on-site employee and budget friendly Sittingsafe® program for office personnel and executives or our Backsafe® program for non-office personnel (800.775.2225).

Our next edition will address back pains and injuries and how they can be prevented on and off the job.  Until then reread this series of 3 newsletters on how to prevent office related CMT and make yourself feel better to more enjoy the life you work so hard for!

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc.

Wrist Pain? Some solutions are at hand!

July 23, 2010

Custodial/janitorial personnel experience a lot of material handling and repetitive activities daily.  Recently we encountered a hospital janitor who was about to file an injury claim because of a painful wrist.  He attended our Backsafe® workshop and reported that within just days of injury prevention training, he could again experience the joy of picking up his young daughter, pain-free.

His particular malady was caused by improper wrist position while buffing the hospital’s floors.  He was exerting force and sustaining bad wrist position for long durations while operating his buffer machine.  Add vibration to the mix and it caused enough pain and inflammation to ruin his peace of mind and life style. 

A key datum to know is: whenever possible, keep your wrist straight.  This particular person worked with his wrists in extension (hands bent up higher that his wrists). 

The muscles that move your fingers are in your forearms and when your wrists are in extension, this contracts the muscle on the topside of your forearms.  When chronically in this posture, fatigue, discomfort, pain and eventually injury can surely occur. 

So, while you’re at work buffing floors; breaking up concrete with a jack hammer; using other power tools; or typing on a keyboard, keep your wrists straight. 

At home, the same rule applies.  

The importance of stretching cannot be overstated as well.  A brief and simple stretch can bring some relief.  Gently flex your wrists up and down—extra stretch can be attained by using the opposite hand to slowly pull fingers back towards forearm; and conversely, pull fingers towards the underside of your forearm.  If you experience any pain while doing this, stop immediately and seek a doctor’s advice.  

You can be in charge of your own well-being.  It is not your doctor’s job—it is yours.  Your doctor helps you if you become injured or sick.  You can be in charge of preventing injuries!

John Lennon, Myopia and the Power of Decision

April 2, 2010

John Lennon wrote in his song “Beautiful Boy”:  “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.  I remember these lyrics from years ago and found them to be quite profound.  Today I find that this concept—“life can happen to us”—relates quite well to those that manage workers’ comp programs.

Have you ever known anyone whose life seems to go like an empty canoe going down the rapids?  Life tends to control them versus the other way around?  This can lead to some pretty stressful living and can result in one becoming quite unhappy.

On the other end of the scale is the person that seems to direct their lives like a well-trained pilot, making it seem easy.  They seem to be “happening to life” versus the random and unpredictable inverse of that.  These people are usually successful in what they do and are much happier for it.

If “life happens” to a company too often then management is not effectively managing, and the organization’s profits are thus affected accordingly.  A test of good management is how well they control their areas of responsibility despite problems that inevitably present themselves.

You can do this simple exercise to feel the effects of “life happening to you” and then turn it around to “you happening to it”.  There is probably something on your desk that you have not done because you just haven’t wanted to confront it yet.  To the degree that it needs to be done and remains uncompleted, is to that degree is bearing some type of an effect upon you.  This is a small example of “life happening to you”.  Ok, now decide to confront this task and then do it!  In other words, “happen to it!”

The proof of you “happening to it” is that when you finish the task you will feel better.

The individuals who capably control their departments and attain desirable outcomes are the ones that are most valuable to the organization and thus are the ones that should be and often are paid the most money.

What attributes separate managers that, despite reasons to not succeed, achieve goals as planned versus the manager that gets sidetracked and daunted by “life’s other plans”?

I know we could probably list several attributes that most effective managers possess, however, I believe there is one that trumps them all.

That attribute is their ability to DECIDE!  Perhaps there is nothing more powerful than an unequivocal, pure, unfiltered decision.  We have all heard of the car being lifted off the ground to save someone.  We have heard of inexplicable victories over powerful enemies—1776 comes to mind; and the US Olympic Hockey Team collectively made an unequivocal decision at some point that they would beat the Russians on that remarkable day.

And I have witnessed in myself the final, absolute resolve to finally drop some pounds when I put on the last of my “fat pants” and shockingly even those had “shrunk in the wash”.  Decisions, when made with 100% commitment, are very powerful.

Without that firm, resolute, give-no-quarter, decision to accomplish something, doubts and reservations can creep in and like a tree root heaving open a sidewalk, can derail the best-laid plans.

Most great leaders have an uncanny ability to envision an outcome and to summon enough mental horsepower to know that their vision will in fact become a reality.  This ability is the basis of everything great that has ever been accomplished.  The ability to unequivocally decide on an outcome!

What does this have to do with workers’ comp you ask?  I say:  EVERYTHING!  Workers’ comp in many aspects is a constant fight for control.  It is not a battleground for the meek and faint hearted.  If the workers’ comp manager is the type that lets “life happen while you are busy making other plans”, workers’ comp costs become more bloated than passengers coming off a 2 week Caribbean cruise.

There is something else I have witnessed.  Those companies with high workers’ comp costs are those companies that simply have not truly decided that they want to control costs.  Does that sound ridiculous?  It is not!  Put a bull’s eye on workers’ comp costs with 100% resolve and those costs will go down.  If you are spending too much on workers’ comp that decision has yet to be made.

One of our clients got fed up a few years ago. They were spending $1.4 million on workers’ comp.  That is a lot of money that could be used much more profitably.  That’s what they thought too.  Despite medical costs of claims rising over the last few years, we have helped them drop their workers’ comp to under $300,00 in 2009.  That decision to control costs and to help protect the health of their employees is turning out to be worth millions of dollars over time going towards profit making activities versus unnecessarily burning money in the workers’ comp system.

This new economy is fixing the old malady of workers’ comp myopia.  You can’t continue to have costly claims anymore. Forget it!  Who can afford it?  The new strategy is attacking claims more upstream, so they NEVER HAPPEN in the first place.

We have tremendous success working with companies who decide and commit to stopping back injuries and other sprain/strains.  Once that decision is made, our job of getting employees to change their physical behavior at work and at home is a cinch.

You are only a decision away!  Make it!  Stop workers’ comp costs at the source.  “Stop tomorrow’s injuries today”!  Right now!