Surviving the Night Shift

If your job involves working the night shift, (late at night until early in the morning) then you probably know how difficult it can be to maintain and take care of your health. According to a study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 15 million Americans are working the night shift.

Our bodies are designed to be active during the day and resting at night. Many functions of your body, including digestion and heart rate, are dependent on your circadian rhythm. When you work the night shift, your body’s circadian rhythm can be disturbed, causing it to become out of sync. Here are some tips that will help you get through working the night shift.

  • Manage your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant. When used carefully, your daily dose of coffee can help you to remain alert throughout a shift. However, improper use of caffeine can cause gastrointestinal upsets and muscle shakes.
  • Take a hot shower before and after your shift. This will wake you up and help relax your muscles.
  • Sleep as much as you can before. If you are someone who usually wakes up early, try to nap for at least 3 hours to reduce your drowsiness at work. Be aware that if you sleep for more than 30 – 40 minutes, your body will enter deep sleep mode. It can take around an hour to feel fully alert afterward, so set aside time for that as well.
  • Stop unhealthy snacking. If you don’t feel like eating a huge meal or if you don’t have time, eat healthy snacks such as nuts and raw fruits or vegetables. Snacks that are high in sugar may help you initially when consumed, but you’ll more than likely end up feeling moody and “crashing” later, which will induce drowsiness.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry. Have something to eat and drink before you go to sleep. If not, then you will wake up feeling hungry and thirsty.
  • Spend your off days wisely. Once your body is on a schedule, it could take some time for it to completely switch routine. Stick to a routine. Even on days you don’t work, try to stay awake at night and sleep during the day.
  • Exercise regularly and when you can. If you’re someone who feels exhausted after finishing your night shift, try to schedule your workouts before your shift, or exercise on your off days.
  • If you’re used to falling asleep with the TV on or with your phone in your hand, you should definitely “unplug” before going to sleep. Take advantage of any time you have to sleep and try to make it uninterrupted. Sleep experts recommend turning off all of your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep. Try to set aside 7 to 9 hours of sleep after getting home from your night shift. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and comfortable. Electric fans are great for keeping air circulating throughout the room and it is helpful and neutral background noise.
  • Bond with your colleagues. It’s good to have a support system at work of other coworkers who are working the night shift as well. Be honest with them about how you are feeling.

Working the night shift can be difficult, but sticking to a routine, eating healthy, and improving your sleep patterns can make the adjustment smoother. If you’re struggling, see a doctor. Discuss your problems with them so that they can help you come up with a solution.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Battling Fatigue at Work

If you’re like many people, you may spend time at work battling fatigue. One minute you’re feeling wide awake and productive, and the next you start yawning and feel your body progressively getting more tired. Fatigue is a common problem that affects many people in the workplace – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one-third of adults are not getting enough sleep each night.

If you’re someone who doesn’t get enough sleep at night, the drowsiness might hit you sooner as opposed to someone who is getting an adequate amount of sleep each night (at least seven hours). Here are some techniques you can utilize to stay awake so that you’re not falling asleep on the job.

  • Take breaks. Short breaks will help you sustain your focus and energy levels. If your eyes are tired from strain and your muscles are aching, it’s time to get up and walk around. You will feel better and be more productive if you walk around, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • Drink more water and less caffeine. Dehydration causes fatigue – it can reduce blood flow to your organs, which slows down your brain. Keep water in your work area and condition yourself to drink 8 cups of water a day, which is the recommended amount. Caffeinated drinks will wake you up temporarily, but later on, you will feel jittery and eventually “crash.”
  • Get moving – take a walk. Physical activity stimulates blood flow to the brain. If you are feeling drowsy, take a walk or stretch to increase your level of alertness. If you are doing a task where you aren’t able to move around much, stretch.
  • Go outside. Exposure to the sunlight outside will improve your mood and concentration, and it can even boost your levels of Vitamin D.
  • Breathe. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a big, deep breath. There are many breathing exercises you can do while at work.

If you are still battling persistent fatigue even after making small lifestyle changes, you may have an underlying medical condition. See a doctor for help so that they can come up with a treatment plan for you.

 

Written by Dami Falade

All about Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral substance that can be pulled so that it has a fluffy consistency. Asbestos fibers are soft and flexible, yet resistant to heat, electricity, and chemical corrosion. Asbestos works really well being used as an insulator, and can be mixed into cloth, paper, plastic, and other materials to make it stronger. These characteristics make asbestos very useful, however, asbestos is still very toxic.

Materials that contain asbestos are not considered to be harmful unless they are released into the air.

The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing. Asbestos fibers are very difficult to be obliterated – once it is entered into the body, it remains there, where it can cause diseases. The most common diseases that are associated with asbestos exposure include lung cancer and mesothelioma. Inhaled asbestos fibers can irritate lung tissues, which can cause the tissues to scar. Continued exposure to asbestos can also cause shortness of breath and stiffness of the lungs.

Ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and cabinet tops will not release asbestos fibers unless they were disturbed or damaged in any way. Damage and deterioration will increase the friability (ability to be easily crumbled or broken down) of asbestos-containing materials. Water damage and physical impact such as drilling or sawing can easily cause the materials to release the fibers.

Individuals are more susceptible to asbestos related disorders if they are exposed to high concentrations of asbestos, if they are exposed to longer periods of times, and/or if they are exposed to asbestos more frequently. The World Health Organization has reported that around 125 million people are exposed to asbestos every year.

As dangerous as asbestos can be, it is not always a cause for concern. Asbestos can be maintained utilizing techniques such as encapsulation, which involves applying a thick layer of latex paint to the surface, which in turn keeps the material together and prevents harmful fibers from being released. If situations where asbestos is being used are unavoidable, it is important to wear a face mask in order to protect your respiratory system.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Staying Put During a Disaster: How to Shelter in Place

Choosing to take shelter during a disaster is a necessary step for survival. Shelter-in-place is a precautionary measure and one of the instructions you may be given in an emergency, whether it’s a severe weather alert, or a chemical, biological, or radiological contamination that may have been released into the atmosphere.

During some disasters, evacuating your home or business may put you at greater risk than staying put. There may be some situations when it’s simply best to stay where you are, whether you are at home, at work, or somewhere else. To effectively shelter, you should first consider the hazard, and then choose an area in your home or building that will protect you.

The safest place to seek shelter and instructions will vary depending on location.

At home:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors.
  • Go to an interior room without windows that are above the ground floor level. In case of a chemical threat, an above-ground level room is best because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may leak into the basement even if the windows are closed.
  • Turn off electric fans and heating/air conditioning systems.
  • Make sure your vents and fireplace flue are closed.
  • Retrieve your disaster supplies kit.
  • Bring your family and pets inside. Be sure that you have additional food and water supplies for your pets, and make arrangements for them to use the restroom inside your room.

At work:

  • Close the business.
  • Bring everyone inside. Shut and lock the doors.
  • Turn on call-forwarding or alternative answering phone systems. If the business has a voicemail, change the recording so that it indicates that the business is closed.
  • If there are any clients, visitors, or customers in the building, encourage them to stay inside and give them directions of the shelter-in-place procedures.
  • Write down the names of every person in the room. Call your business’ designated emergency contact and let them know who everyone in the room is, and their relationship to the business (whether it be an employee, visitor, customer, or client).
  • Gather essential disaster supplies – nonperishable food, bottled water, battery-powered radios, flashlights, batteries, plastic garbage bags, etc.
  • If there is a danger of explosion, close the window, shades, blinds, and/or curtains.
  • Keep listening to the radio or TV until you are told all is clear or you are told to evacuate.

Finding out what can happen is the first step to being prepared. You should develop a disaster plan within your home or workplace. Consider practicing drills so that in case of an emergency, you know exactly what to do.  You should also have an emergency package – this should include an adequate water supply (at least three days’ worth), batteries, flashlight, first-aid kit, scissors, duct tape, paper towels, non-perishable food, a battery operated radio, and cell phone chargers.

During a shelter-in-place alert, no one is to leave the area until you are given the “all clear” from authorities. Shelter-in-place can last a few hours or even longer. It’s important to try to stay calm and be patient. Local authorities may not be immediately available to provide information about what is happening and what you need to do. However, you should still watch TV, listen to the radio, and check the internet for news and updates.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Hand Injury and Typing

A majority of jobs require you to use a computer for numerous hours a day, but as more people type on a computer, hand injuries due to improper keyboard use become more common. It starts with tingling or numbness in the hand, and become increasingly painful. One of the most common injuries is Repetitive Strain Injury.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an injury which is caused by overusing the hands to perform repetitive tasks – typing, writing, or using a mouse. The pain felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons is caused by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition affects parts of the upper body, such as forearms/elbows, risks/hands, and necks/shoulders.  The first symptoms of RSI may include swelling, tenderness, pain, and stiffness.

Here are some risk factors associated with RSI:

  • Poor posture
  • Don’t take frequent breaks
  • Don’t exercise regularly
  • Work in a high-pressure environment
  • Use a computer for more than 2-4 hours a day

Here are some ways you can relieve hand pain.

  • Take frequent breaks every 30 minutes, if possible. Utilize techniques to stretch your hands and wrists.
  • Improve your posture. Sit tall in a comfortable position.
  • Don’t press too hard with your fingers on the keyboard. This could cause unnecessary strain.
  • Bring your keyboard and mouse close to the edge of the desk.
  • Make sure your chair is raised to the appropriate height so that your elbows are at 45 degrees.
  • Pay attention to the position of your hands.
  • Keep your fingernails short! Long fingernails make it more difficult to main a good typing position. Your typing position should be wrists straight, fingers down and slightly curved.
  • Avoid sitting cross-legged.

Even if you don’t work a desk job, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you too. Other occupations such as drivers, musicians, and dental hygienists are also at risk since those occupations require repetitive movements as well.

When you are in front of a computer for eight hours a day, preventative measures are important in order to prevent hand injuries. If you take the appropriate steps and your symptoms are still persistent, it is important to see a doctor immediately.

 

Written my Dami Falade

Eye Injury Prevention in Hazardous Workplace

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2,000 workers sustain job-related injuries daily making eye injuries one of the leading hazards at the workplace.  Don’t let that number scare you, with the proper personal protective equipment and safety procedure implementation the likelihood of eye injury can be reduced substantially. Below are some safety tips to help create a safer workplace:

  • Be aware of eye injury hazards

Falling objects such as bits of metal or glass may cause cuts or scrapes in the cornea. Another common eye injuries come from splashes with grease and oil, burns from steam, ultraviolet or infrared radiation exposure and flying wood or metal chips. Health care workers, laboratory, janitorial staff, and other workers may be at risk of acquiring infectious diseases from eye exposure which can be transmitted through direct exposure to blood splashes, respiratory droplets generated during coughing or from touching eyes with contaminated fingers or objects. It’s important to assess the workplace and determine specific potential hazards for your industry.

  • Wear safety eye protection

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) require workers to use eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented by such equipment. Workers should wear eye protection that corresponds to the hazards in their workplace. Safety glasses with side protection are recommended if working in an area that has particles, flying objects or dust. If you are working with chemicals, goggles are fitting. Anyone working near hazard radiation like welding, lasers or fiber optics must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for that task.

  • Be prepared for an emergency

Knowing what to do in case of an eye injury can prevent serious damage while medical assistance is obtained. Each eye injury has first aid procedures to ensure prevention of pain in the eye, blurred vision, or loss of any vision. For instance, first aid for chemicals in the eye requires flushing eyes with water for at least 15 minutes while not washing out the eye is recommended for cuts and punctures. Training workers about eye safety related to their potential eye injury may reduce the risk of permanent injury.

Some industries may not be able to entirely illuminate eye injury hazards, but providing workers with the proper training and equipment can reduce the probability of injury drastically. Being aware, protected and prepared at all times may save workers from experiencing loss of vision, pain in the eye and blurred vision.

At Nova Medical Centers, we solely focus on occupational health. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety needs. Ensuring our clients are informed about OSHA regulations is one of our top priorities. Contact us for more information about any of our services. Our skilled and friendly staff members are ready to meet all your occupational health needs.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

Workplace Injury Prevention

Accidents at the workplace are common and disrupt the flow of daily activity. Although workers health is a top priority when an incident occurs, it’s important to consider evaluating other factors such as the condition of workplace and equipment during that time as well.  Reinforcing safety policies is one of the best preventative measures when it comes to reducing workplace injuries.  Below are 5 workplace injury prevention tips:

  1. Implement a safety and wellness plan

Complying with standards and creating a culture of safety will lower the probability of an accident and increase productivity. Safety should not be expected from employees without proper training. By providing safety training you’re teaching employees how to work safely and demonstrating that safety is a priority at the workplace. 

  1. Assess safety vulnerabilities

Every industry has unique hazards and a critical part of safety plan implementation is predicting which accidents are most likely to happen at your workplace. Researching previous injuries that occurred can help you find a pattern and give you an idea what areas need safety policies reevaluations.

  1. Talk safety

Use every opportunity available to talk about safety with employees and management. Staff meetings, conference calls, employee newsletters and any other form of internal communication should be utilized to share the importance of safety. Another way to keep workers motivated is by rewarding them for abiding safety policies or for going accident-free for a certain time period.

  1. Staff accordingly

Ensuring you have the appropriate amount of workers for specific jobs or tasks is a simple tactic that can heavily reduce overworking employees which leads to cutting corners and unsafe practices.

  1. Maintain a clean workplace

Keeping equipment organized and safety equipment visible allows easy access for workers to use. Designated spill cleanup stations should be assigned if necessary in the industry.

Accidents are unpredictable but you can train your team to work in a fashion that creates a safer workplace. Being prepared and knowing what to do in case of an accident can reduce the severity of injuries if they occur.

At Nova Medical Centers, we solely focus on occupational health. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety needs. Contact us for more information about any of our services. Our skilled and friendly staff members are ready to meet all your occupational health needs.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

Crane Safety Tips

Cranes are essential for workers in construction, manufacturing, warehousing and other industries, but are highly more hazardous than any other tool.  Extensive training and following crane safety standards creates a better working environment for workers and anyone around the worksite. Below is a list of common crane hazards and preventative measures you can take to create a safer work area:

  • Being aware of electrical lines is critical when operating a crane. The metal in the crane is an excellent conductor and can cause a fatal electrocution if accidentally hit against electrical lines
  • Material lifted with a crane has the potential of falling off even after it has been secured Employees below crane should avoid working in the area and wear hard hats along with other appropriate PPE
  • Although cranes can lift an astounding amount of weight, it is important for crane operator to know the weight limit of each crane. Crane operators and loaders should also keep track of how much weight is being added or removed to avoid overloading
  • When cranes twist or move to get the load where it needs to go, it create pinch or crush points where someone could be seriously injured. It is important to be cautious of surroundings when moving a load to avoid accidental injury to those around
  • Crane operators should make sure area is cleared when dropping a load to avoid crushing objects or injuring someone. Some loads are heavy enough to crush vehicles so it is important to remember to never work under a crane load, even with PPE
  • Requiring workers to wear a hard hat at all times ensures they are safe if material falls from a crane load. You can’t predict when this will happen, but you can prepare for it.
  • Providing workers with eye protections prevents them from having temporary blindness caused by dust or debris
  • Hand protection keeps workers safe from pinches or being crushed

Using a crane is hazardous, but with crane safety implementation and proper training, workers are able to operate them with confidence and reduce the possibility of injury drastically.

At Nova Medical Centers we specialize in occupational health. We understand the importance of informing employers and employees of safety regulations.  We take pride in providing exceptional services to our patients and clients. Contact us for more information. Our friendly staff and team of experts are here to meet all your occupational health needs.

 

Written by Nayda Sanchez

Preventing Electrical Accidents in the Workplace

Working with electricity has become so customary that we don’t give much thought to how heavily we depend on a reliable source of electricity to perform daily job functions. Some employees like engineers and electricians work with electricity directly while others such as office workers and sales people work with electricity indirectly.  Electrical shock, electrocution, fires and explosions are all risks workers are exposed to day-to-day.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes these hazards and has designed standards to protect employees from potential injuries. Below are a few electrical hazards prevention tips

  • Protection provided by insulation

Shocks, fires and short circuits could all be prevented by using insulators such as glass, mica, rubber, or plastic to coat metals and other conductors to reduce the flow of electrical current. Effective insulation must be suitable for the voltage used and other environmental factors like moisture, oil, gasoline, corrosive fumes or other substances that could cause the insulator to fail.

  • Guarding electric equipment

Guarding involves locating or enclosing electric equipment to make sure people don’t accidently come into contact with it. Ensuring only authorized employees qualified to work with electrical equipment has access to it is part of effective guarding.

  • Grounding

Grounding an electrical tool or system means to intentionally create a low-resistance path that connects to the earth which prevents the buildup of voltages that could cause an electrical accident. OSHA recommends using guarding as secondary protective measure to substantially reduce the risk of electrical hazards.

  • Circuit Protection

Circuit protection devices limit or stop the flow of current automatically in the event of ground fault, overload, or short circuit in the wiring system. Fuses, circuit breakers, ground-fault circuit interrupters, and arc-fault circuit interrupters are all examples of circuit protection devices.

Unintentionally ignoring electrical hazards can lead to serious bodily injuries. By taking proper precaution when dealing with tools or areas that have potential electrical hazards, you ensure that you create a safe and healthful environment for employees.

At Nova Medical Centers, we solely focus on occupational health. We pride ourselves in delivering exceptional services and helping our clients prioritize their health and safety above all else. We ensure clients are up-to-dated with OSHA regulations at our Nova Lunch and Learns . Contact us for more information about any of our services. Our skilled and friendly staff members are ready to meet all your occupational health needs.

Written by Nayda Sanchez

3 Overlooked Manufacturing Hazards – Training and safety procedures reduce risks

Safety in the manufacturing industry has improved drastically over the last several decades, but when it comes to safety you should never settle with current working conditions. Regular evaluation should be implemented at the workplace.  Many factors contribute to manufacturing hazards so it may be hard to find a starting point. Don’t worry, we have you covered. Below is a list of three commonly overlooked manufacturing hazards and prevention tips:

Noise

According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration  (OSHA) fact sheet, noise-related hearing loss is one the top concerns of workers.  Noise standards for workplaces have been established by OSHA in order to help prevention of hearing loss. If workers are exposed to time-weighted average noise level of 85 decibels or higher over an 8-hour work shift, employers are required to have a hearing conservation program in place.  Ensuring equipment is maintained and lubricated daily contributes to lowering noise levels and providing ear plugs and other personal equipment to employees offers protection against hearing loss.

Burns

Workplace burns are caused by open flames, hot objects, explosions, chemicals, electrical sources and sun exposure. Wearing personal protective equipment, using fire prevention tactics and having procedures and emergency action plans related to fire safety all lower the hazards when workers are exposed to burn risk.  Electrical sources, high-voltage areas and machinery should all be clearly labeled to avoid burns.

Strains

Unsafe lifting techniques, the strain associated with standing for long periods, and using repetitive motions to complete tasks cause symptoms of serious musculoskeletal disorders   (MSD). Injuries to the joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs and nerves are all included in MSD. Workers can reduce the strain by practicing safe lifting techniques such as lifting with your legs instead of your back or pivoting your feet instead of twisting with your body when you need to turn. Ensuring workers have access to dollies, carts and other lift aids will also in protecting workers from developing MSD.

Training workers, creating safety plans and providing appropriate personal protective equipment reduces risks of injuries working in manufacturing. Staying aware of potential hazards and being precautious creates a safer workplace for employees.

Nova Medical Centers  specializes in Occupational Health. We understand the importance of informing employers and employees about OSHA regulations and safety.  Our sole focus on occupational health allows us to provide exceptional services to our patients. Contact us  for more information. Our friendly staff and team of experts are here to meet all your occupational health needs.

Written by Nayda Sanchez