Archive for the ‘Workers' Comp’ category

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.

Sitting…Ergonomics…and the Executive…Part Deux

June 10, 2017

Young-Man-with-Back-PainOur last edition defined CMT (Cumulative Micro Trauma) the cause of most physical discomfort attendant to sitting and working on a computer.  You may feel CMT on your body as fatigue, discomfort, or pain.  The pandemic existence of CMT among office workers around the world affects moods, joint function, production and well-being.

Employers, not aware of CMT as the source of employee “ergonomic” complaints, are compelled to purchase new ergonomic furniture, equipment and gadgets that in many cases, don’t completely solve the employee’s condition.

The basic fundamental of problem solving is to determine the exact cause, as eliminating the exact cause of any problem eliminates the problem.

smartphone_computer_desk-587ff5f73df78c2ccd054726A prevalent issue with most office workers or executives in today’s high tech world is CMT, as a result of computer and cell phone related repetitive activities.  The solution is to prevent CMT.  Most offices are already equipped with furniture that can be adjusted adequately to position 95% of human beings properly.  Yet close to 100% (actual fact) of the people that work in offices sit and work at their computer incorrectly!!

FIT’s Sittingsafe® program teaches the “Laws of Sitting” which are almost completely unknown by our society.  Not knowing these very simple laws predisposes us to CMT and the gamut of physical symptoms.

Our first edition described maintaining “open angles”.  I trust that has been helpful.  Today I want to mention “neutral head posture”.  Your monitor’s position—height and distance from your eyes—dictates the position of your head.  If you are experiencing neck and shoulder pain, this will help (as will the next edition…stay tuned!). Your head weighs 10-12 pounds when you maintain a neutral posture; that is, when your head is in its natural position while looking straight ahead in a relaxed state.

bad-posture-urgent-careHowever, your 12 pound head can have the effect of weighing over 30 pounds (!) when you slouch and “turtle” your head out towards your monitor while looking at your screen.  This is called “forward head posture” and is very insidious. Many people as a result of this chronic posture, have their heads and neck fixed in this position permanently causing continual stress on their neck and shoulders.

Not only does “forward head posture” cause neck and shoulder discomfort but it also reduces your oxygen intake.

Check this out:

Sit up straight with your head in neutral posture and while noticing your air intake, take 2 nice deep breaths.

Now jut your chin out as if looking at your monitor incorrectly  (forward head posture) and try taking 2 deep breaths—you can’t do it, right?!

“Forward head posture” contributes to neck and shoulder pain and discomfort, headaches, and your ability to breath normally.

SOLUTION to prevent “forward head posture”:  Move your monitor closer to you or increase the font size to prevent the urge to be closer to your monitor.

FIT offers on-site group Sittingsafe workshops anywhere in the country.  We teach people how to set up their existing workstations and a very powerful stretching routine specific for office workers.

We also conduct one-on-one ergonomic evaluations.

Visit our website at www.backsafe.com for more information on Sittingsafe and our industrial lifting program Backsafe®.

Until next time, remember Open Angles and Neutral Head Posture!  You’ll feel better, I promise!

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc.

Luck vs. Prepared

March 27, 2017

four-leaf-cloverLuck, A Poor Workers’ Comp Strategy

I have been in the workplace injury prevention business now for over 25 years.  I wish I had a $10 bill for every time I heard “we are lucky so far, injuries are way down”, or “we’ve had some bad luck lately, our injuries are up”, or something to that effect.

Luck appears to have a lot to do with back injuries in particular.  I spoke to a nurse not too long ago and after discussing a spate of back injuries to her colleagues she said “I guess I am just lucky.”

It’s certainly nice to have luck on our side, but unfortunately it is not always dependable.  In business and in life, the less control we have over something the more we have to rely on luck; not exactly a highly successful strategy!

Control is a word that is sometimes maligned, however, it is a huge key to our success, health and happiness.  The more control we have over aspects of our lives, the more successful we are.  Whether it be a bicycle, car, computer, job, finances, or our minds, optimal control makes life more fun and rewarding.

When we were creating the Backsafe® Injury Prevention Programs, we had to understand the exact cause of back injuries to offer reliable and consistent solutions.  We couldn’t sell four leaf clovers for very long and get away with it!

We discovered that when people learned the actual cause of back, shoulder and other sprain/strain types of injuries; and learned how to prevent them as it applied to their lives, back injuries went way down and in some companies almost ceased!

We rely on luck significantly more so when we can’t control well.  4da72e5455df7cfd9c13d6086ff441c9The Vegas slot machine is virtually all luck because of a total lack of control of those spinning dials.

Your employees can control their health better.  They just need to become aware of how to do that.  The more your employees control their own well-being, the more you are controlling your workers’ comp costs, productivity and lost time.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Everything in nature goes by law, and not by luck”.

The spine (shoulders, wrists, neck too) operates on its own laws, and when one knows them it should last a lifetime…no luck needed!

Dennis Downing, CEO

Future Industrial Technologies, Inc. 

 

Roof Top Exposure

July 16, 2010

Looking out the office window I spied a team of roofers stripping a damaged roof, repairing it and re-shingling.  The sight of 12 men on a steep roof, with very few safety precautions in place gave me heart palpitations—a slight fear of heights revisited perhaps?!

Setting aside the slips/falls risk, I observed several shockingly egregious biomechanical no-nos.   Here you can see the torqueing whilst lifting heavy, bulky packages of roofing materials; bending at the waist, as opposed to lifting correctly…can you spot some additional safety offenses? 

It made me think about the diversity of job tasks and the epidemic of ignorance of proper biomechanics, and by ignorance I mean that people just don’t know!

Each of these roofers is important to someone—as a father, husband, friend, son, brother, co-worker.  When (and it is a near certainty that an injury will occur with the every day strain he places upon himself with poor biomechanics) he becomes injured, each of these people will be adversely affected.  Not to mention the poor injured soul who thinks that the injury occurred because of an isolated action.  He won’t know that it was repeated at-risk motions that gradually wore his body down until it gave in to the damage.  He won’t know that the injury could have been prevented.  And, most unfortunate, he’ll likely return to the same job with the same bad habits and become re-injured.  Thus, the tragic cycle of injury-work comp—re-injury and thus the business owner’s workers’ comp premium skyrockets. 

So, now I’ll step down from my soapbox and talk about solutions…

  1. Stretch muscles before, during and after repeated and/or strenuous activities.  These stretches don’t take much time, they are simple and most importantly, they are effective!
  2. Always Face the Load When Lifting. This mantra reflects the spine’s desire to NOT twist!
  3. Keep the Load Close to Your Body.  Reaching out from your body puts incrementally more and more pressure on your spine—again, it does NOT like this!
  4. Keep Your Head Level While Lifting.  This helps to keep the naturally occurring curves in your spine in the correct position.
  5. Wear some type of safety harness while working on high, unprotected surfaces, like a ROOF!

So, these are the tips that I share with you from these photos.  Have you got some good ones to add to my list?  Let’s hear ‘em!

Spitting Cobras lead to carpal tunnel! Wait! What?

June 11, 2010

Where are the muscles that move your fingers and why is it important to know?  They are in your forearm.  These muscles transition into tendons that go through the wrist joint and attach to your finger bones—in layman’s terms.

 “Keep your wrists straight while typing” is a key principle in our office ergonomics program—Sittingsafe®.  You want to minimize friction and resistance in your wrist area to prevent accumulated repetitive stress. 

 This is why we don’t want you using those darn “feet” in the back of the keyboard!  When these are utilized, the back of your keyboard is raised, which in turn, forces your wrists to bend (spitting cobra style!).  If anything, the front of your keyboard should be raised so that your wrists can stay straight.  Your keyboard is at the correct height when your hands are slightly below your elbows when typing. 

 F.I.T. Rule:  “Keep wrists straight” and not just when typing.

 We have helped prevent surgeries for those that work on computers, buff floors, use jackhammers, and in countless manufacturing jobs.  Hand and wrist pain can alter your lifestyle considerably.  Use these tips to help keep you happy, healthy and in the game!

 Let us know if this helps!

June is NATIONAL EMPLOYEE WELLNESS month!

June 2, 2010

Did you know that June is National Employee Wellness Month?  F.I.T. has been preventing back injuries within corporate America now for 17 years by imbuing a wellness approach to workers’ comp cost abatement.

 We have focused our programs (Backsafe® and Sittingsafe®) on the belief that in order to prevent work related injuries, you must also include how to prevent off work injuries too.  After all, your spine and other body parts register physical stress no matter what you are doing.

The first thing we accomplish in our training is to establish a “personal wellness attitude”.  There are too many instances in our society where people are treated as victims of their environment.  Aches and pains are explained as “it’s just part of the job” or part of the “aging process”. 

 In a recent Sittingsafe Ergonomic Workshop, one employee stated:  “it is about time someone told me how I can help prevent aches and pains.”

 Employees do not want to be in pain.  Teaching people that they can have a say in how they feel is very empowering.

 A simple tip that can make a huge difference to those who work on a computer at home or work is the following:

Never reach for your keyboard!  Your arms can weigh up to 12-15% of your body weight.  Keep your elbows by your side while typing.  This will help prevent neck and should discomfort and may even help you get rid of dull, tension related headaches!

 Have you thought about strategies to enhance your employees’ wellness?  If you need some help, let us know.  We have years of experience in industry across the board.

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!