As the temperature drops, the number of colds and cases of the flu begin to rise. This isn't because low temperatures weaken people's immune systems. It's mostly because people are inside for longer periods of time and working in close quarters with one another.
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) states that 62 million cases of the common cold occur each year, and according to its most recent survey, 22 million days of work are lost annually. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that estimated annual direct costs of influenza are $4.6 billion. In addition, up to 111 million workdays are lost and an estimated $7 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity are lost because of the flu. Employers can help keep their employees safe from colds and the flu by instituting effective programs, educating workers, and supplying the right tools to keep them healthy and productive.
Receiving a flu vaccine doesn't guarantee that a person won't catch the flu or miss days from work, but it is a helpful precaution. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two strategies when it comes to encouraging vaccinations. Employers can either host an event or encourage employees to attend one nearby. Hosting a vaccination clinic can help an employer ensure that the largest number of workers have access to the vaccine. If your company is not hosting an onsite clinic, keep workers informed about where they can get flu vaccinations outside of the workplace. Partnering with an offsite health provider, pharmacy, or clinic is a good way to promote vaccinations in the community.
Stopping the spread
Flu vaccinations only protect against the most common strains of the virus, and colds can't usually be prevented, even with good hygiene and a strong immune system. Encouraging workers to stay home when they are sick is an easy way to help prevent employees from spreading illnesses.
The CDC recommends that workers stay home for at least 24 hours after their fevers have broken. Persistent respiratory issues such as coughing, sneezing, and runny noses should prevent workers from returning because they will likely spread the virus.
Colds and the flu are transmitted by viruses, so it isn't difficult to help prevent spreading with a little bit of vigilance. Hand hygiene is key - encourage employees to wash their hands frequently and ensure that they know how to wash them properly. Using soap and water, washing for at least 20 seconds, and thoroughly rinsing and drying when finished is recommended. Post signs that tell workers, visitors, and clients the steps for proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
Alcohol-based cleansers are effective when hand washing isn't convenient. Supply moist wipes and hand sanitizers that contain alcohol to help prevent the spread of illness.
Coughing and sneezing are the most common ways that colds and the flu are transmitted. Promote cough and sneeze etiquette and provide tissues for all of your workers. It is also important to properly dispose of used tissues. Designate a no-touch wastebasket that's only cleaned by employees with gloves who immediately wash up after emptying it.
No employee wants to get sick, so there is always a strong incentive for workers to prevent the spread of colds and the flu. A lot of the preventative work needed to do this is in their hands. To help your employees stay healthy and productive this winter:
• Educate employees about vaccinations and flu symptoms
• Provide soap, water, and tissues
• Provide disinfectant and towelettes so workers can clean their tools and workstations
• Implement a flexible sick leave policy and include alternate resources, a pay policy, procedures for reporting flu symptoms, and returning to work
For the 1,284,700 warehouse workers across the United States, there are many ways to help avoid common accidents at the workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines the following tips to improve warehouse safety:
• Training. Ensure employees are trained on ergonomics, proper lifting technique, safe truck operation, PPE, and chemical safety, including chemical hazards, reading safety data sheets and labels, and safety precautions. Teach ways to reduce the risk of heat stress or cold-related conditions if workers labor in hot or cold environments. Thoroughly document all training
• Scheduling. When determining time requirements for tasks, factor safety practices and periodic rests for employees performing physical labor
• Chemical safety. Provide an up-to-date list of chemical hazards present in the facility. When handling chemicals, make sure workers wear appropriate PPE, like gloves, safety glasses or goggles, protective clothing, and respiratory protection. Properly label all chemicals and store according to manufacturer recommendations and fire codes
• Ventilation. Ensure the warehouse is properly ventilated to reduce hazards from engine exhaust and gassing batteries
• Falls. Rope off or block loading docks and other zones where workers could fall more than four feet. Clear aisles and floors of hoses, cords, spilt materials, clutter, and other hazards to reduce tripping. Install guard rails or covers to block stair openings
• Powered machinery. Implement proper lockout tagout processes
• Falling objects. Store product and materials in tiers, stacked properly by blocking, interlocking, and limiting pile height
• Clearance. Properly mark appropriate safe clearances for loading docks, aisles, and passageways where equipment for mechanical handling or lifting is in use
• Lifting machines. Use correct signals when lifting with hoists and elevators
• Forklifts. All forklifts should meet the requirements in American National Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks, Part II ANSI B56.1-1969. Ensure operators follow all driving safety protocols and provide each operator with a performance evaluation every three years at minimum. Examine each truck before use
• Forklift batteries. Charge batteries only in designated areas. Post safety signs to remind workers to refrain from smoking in the area and to keep tools and metal items away from uncovered batteries. Provide appropriate equipment for handling batteries
Keep employees safe in the warehouse and help reduce injuries by providing frequent training, reminders, and the appropriate safety supplies.
Microflex® Diamond Grip Plus™ 6 Mil Powder-Free 9" latex exam gloves give employees comfortable hand protection that ensures a secure grip, while the 6.3 mil construction provides durability.
The disposable, latex gloves provide workers the dexterity needed to complete jobs safely. Microflex® Diamond Grip Plus™ 6 Mil Powder-Free 9" Latex Exam Gloves are not only tear-resistant, but also feature an extended beaded cuff for increased wrist protection and added strength.
What sets these work gloves apart from other brands is the advanced glove strength and wrist protection. The contoured design of these work gloves provides all day comfort workers will appreciate. Exam gloves are powder-free and specially formulated to reduce the risk of a painful reaction to latex.
Improve workplace safety and reduce health and injury risks with the Microflex® Diamond Grip Plus™ 6 Mil Powder-Free 9" Latex Exam Gloves.
When workplaces are at risk of going over the allowed limit of gases and vapors, workers need effective personal protective equipment to shield them from these airborne contaminants and maintain compliance. 3M Multi-Gas and Vapor P100 Replacement Cartridges are a smart choice to safeguard workers while ensuring comfort and productivity.
Since ease and comfort are so important for employee compliance, these innovative safety products are engineered to be as simple and comfortable as they are protective. The easy-mount bayonet cartridges feature a swept-back style that provides excellent balance and keeps the cartridge away from workers’ faces to ensure optimum vision. These cartridges are also designed to be as light as possible while still providing the maximum amount of protection when used with 3M 6000 and 7500 Series half mask respirators and 6000, FF-400, and 7800 Series full face respirators.
3M Multi-Gas & Vapor P100 Cartridges are recommended for respiratory protection against organic vapors, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, sulfur dioxide, chlorine dioxide, ammonia, methylamine, formaldehyde, hydrogen fluoride, and hydrogen sulfide. P100 cartridges provide additional protection because they are also 99.97% efficient against solid or liquid particles— including oil-based particles.
Respiratory protection is an important part of worker safety and disposable cartridges make 3M respirators a convenient, cost-effective, and easy-to-use choice for use in petrochemical and chemical processing, utilities, pharmaceuticals, mining, primary metals, and other industrial settings.
Stock up on 3M Multi-Gas and Vapor P100 Respirator Cartridges today and be prepared with the respiratory protection workers need.
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