SAFETY TIP TUESDAY

Provided by the NCESD Workers' Compensation Trust

Hidden Dangers in our Schools & Offices

Schools are not typically thought of as dangerous environments; yet, each year thousands of education service employees across the US suffer injuries to the neck, back, shoulders and lower extremities due to slips, trips, and falls, being struck or caught by objects, or as a result of how their computer work station is arranged. Here are some tips to help prevent these types of injuries.

PREVENTING SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS

Stay Clutter-free - Make sure all materials and supplies such as boxes, files, etc., are safely stored in their proper location to prevent the clutter in walkways.

Secure and Cover Cords - Electrical cords crossing walkways or under rugs can create potential trip hazards as well so, keep them secured and covered.

Step Up Safely - Standing on chairs and furniture to extend your reach, especially rolling office chairs, creates a significant fall hazard. Always use a stepladder whenever you need to reach something at an elevated height. Stepladders must be fully opened and positioned on firm, level ground. Never climb higher than the step marked as the highest safe standing level.

Maintain a Clear Line of Vision - Workers can collide when making turns in the hallways and at blind corners or cubicle walls. Keep your eyes on path and slow down when turning corners to avoid a collision.

TIPS TO AVOID BEING STRUCK OR CAUGHT BY AN OBJECT

Shut the Drawer - File cabinets can tip over if you open too many heavy drawers of a cabinet that has not been properly secured. Open drawers on desks and file cabinets can also create trip hazards. Be sure to completely close drawers when not in use.

Safe Stacking - Large stacks of materials and heavy equipment can cause injuries if knocked over. Heavy objects should be stored close to the floor. Be careful not to exceed the load capacity of shelves or storage units.

REDUCING THE RISK OF AN ERGONOMIC INJURY

Adjust Your Chair To Fit Your Body – Tilt the chair backrest backwards about 10 degrees and adjust your chair so the backrest supports the natural inward curve of your lower back; your thighs are parallel to ground; your knees are the same level as your hips; and your feet rest comfortably on the floor.

Correctly Position Your Monitor – Position your monitor directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away (18-30"), with the top of the monitor at or just below eye level. You may need to raise the monitor slightly if you use bifocals or trifocals.

Correct Mouse Placement – Place the keyboard and mouse at the same level to prevent stress on your neck and shoulders.

Take a Break - Frequent micro breaks help reduce fatigue, musculoskeletal discomfort, and eye strain. Get up and stretch for 1-2 minutes every hour and follow the 20-20-20 rule, looking away from the computer monitor 20 feet for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.

CONTACT BROOKE THOMSEN, LOSS CONTROL SPECIALIST, TO SCHEDULE An ERGONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF YOUR WORK STATION OR A SAFETY INSPECTION

North Central ESD Workers' Compensation Trust

Providing Risk Management Services to Reduce On-The-Job Injuries