Written by: Michael Blakley - Marketing Director
One of the benefits of working for an industrial manufacturing firm is you are exposed to a more disciplined approach to workplace safety then you might be in other kinds of businesses. (Although all work places today need to focus on some level of safety, depending on the nature of their business or service).
What I have learned here at States Industries, in completing my first year as Marketing Director, is how focused our company is on the issue of work place safety and in promoting a healthy work environment. Our focus is most apparent because our HR and Safety Management team have consistent work-safe programs in place and are constantly initiating new ones as they become aware of better practices, better techniques and new ideas. Their goal, day in and day out, is to make every employee hyper-conscious of working smart, lowering the negative impact of certain physical aspects of the job and being able to spot potential unsafe working conditions and help take the proper corrective actions.
Recently, our company embraced a versatile new safety program, proven to reduce injuries, called “Safety in Motion®/SIM4®, provided by the SAIF Corporation of Oregon. The techniques used in this program are expressly designed to reduce the occurrence of muscle and spinal injuries. All the techniques teach employees to think about the way they perform basic job functions and to make simple changes in the way they reach, lift, carry, push or pull.
Here are the fundamentals of the program summarized best:
• Positioning elbows closer for better leverage, eliminating the impact of a long, awkward reach.
• Using mid-range wrist motions, aligning our wrists to protect them and our forearms.
• Moving closer to work; avoiding stooping over or reaching unnecessarily.
• Using good posture and proximity to avoid stretching and reaching in an awkward form.
• Focus on foot position to align our bodies for best balance and maximum strength. This helps protect knees, spine and shoulders.
• Properly storing tools and materials for better access: heavy items stored, chest high, lighter items stored on lower shelves where the lifting strain is minimized.
And the beauty of this uncomplicated and straight-forward approach is it can be used in every part of your daily life; lifting groceries, using a step stool to shorten your reach, yard work or projects that require lifting and moving objects, even putting on your seatbelt… the Safety in Motion techniques are all designed to reduce your risk of strain and pain.
And while companies and organizations all have a variety of histories, origins and company cultures, one thing should be parallel across all businesses and that is to develop a safety culture. For many years, we all heard United Airlines use the expression, “safety is our first priority,” and over the years, our hardwood plywood plant here in Western Oregon has embraced that very same philosophy.
We hope by sharing these techniques, from our own safety culture, that you might find them valuable and useful.
Have a great, safe summer everyone and thank you for being loyal followers.