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Safety Tips for Driving in Minnesota Winters

Driving is possibly the worst part of our winters in Minnesota. Whether it’s driving to work or driving on the job, chances are you’re dealing with icy roads and snow this winter.

Some of our job opportunities require driving, which adds another layer of safety to consider. If you have to drive for work, the last thing you want is to experience a winter driving disaster while on the job.

We want you to stay safe on the road this season, so we’ve put together some tips to help you perform your job well.

Check your vehicle regularly

Prevention is important to remaining safe on the road. Even if your company has someone managing the fleet, take a moment to inspect your truck before leaving. Remove all snow from the vehicle, especially the windshield, hood, roof, lights truck, and windows. Visually inspect the tires, lights and wiper blades. Always have at least a half of tank of gas to prevent freezing.

Be prepared for emergencies

Carry an emergency kit in your car so that you can be prepared for any situation, regardless of the season. Sample items to put in your kit include:

  • • Extra clothes and a blanket
  • • A flashlight and spare batteries
  • • Non-perishable food and water
  • • A First Aid kit
  • • A bag of sand or salt for ice
  • • A snow shovel and a windshield scraper
  • • Tire chains or traction mats
  • • Jumper cables

If you drive a company vehicle for work, check whether your employer provides these items. If not, create a bag with your essentials so that you’re prepared for every drive.

Go slowly

Sorry to sound like your mother, but we have to say it: slow down when there’s ice. Icy roads mean poor traction, so it’s harder to brake. Follow the speed limit, slow down on bridges and be cautious when turning. Leave enough room between you and other drivers so that you have more time to stop in an emergency. If you do need to stop suddenly, pump the brakes lightly to avoid locking your tires and losing control of your vehicle.

Watch for black ice

Black ice occurs when there is ice on the road in near-freezing temperatures. It looks like a puddle and can be difficult to spot. Since it’s hard to see from the driver’s seat, you have to rely on other clues to know if the roads may be icy. Look for ice on the back of your side-view mirrors, antenna or the top of your windshield. If the cars in front of you appear to be driving over water but no water sprays, it could be an ice path. Pay attention to trees and road signs; if they are icy but the road doesn’t appear to be, black ice may be present.

Taking extra precautions in winter isn’t fun, but your safety is what’s most important. If you’re tired of driving for your job or sick of your commute, it’s time for a change. Check out our job opportunities and let us help you find your future!

How to Stay Safe Working Outdoors This Winter

If your job requires you to spend time outside during the winter months, it’s important to make workplace safety your top priority. You’ll need to protect yourself from common winter hazards, including hypothermia, frostbite and dangerous slips. To keep yourself as safe, focused and comfortable as possible this winter, follow these simple tips.

Wear the right clothes

Layer up with warm shirts, pants, sweaters, and coats to protect yourself from cold temperatures. By wearing several layers you’ll not only stay warm but also be able to shed layers as needed to adjust to warmer temperatures throughout the day. Wear wool socks and thick gloves to keep your hands and feet warm and to promote circulation while you work.

 It’s much harder to stay warm if your clothing gets wet, so it’s important to avoid getting damp when you’re working. Wear waterproof outer layers, including rain jackets and snow boots, to keep yourself dry. If your clothes get wet, change them as soon as possible. Working in wet clothing when temperatures are below freezing greatly increases the risk of hypothermia.

Take breaks

Breaks are required for workers of all kinds, but they’re especially important for workers who spend a lot of time outside exposed to adverse weather conditions. Take plenty of breaks throughout the day, especially if you begin to feel cold, shaky or weak. Take your breaks in a comfortable, dry place and sip on a hot beverage to warm yourself up.

Rest is also essential when you’re working outdoors during the winter. Being tired while working outside increases the risk of falls and other accidents. Get plenty of sleep before your shift to ensure that you’re well-rested and alert while you’re working.

Don’t forget to eat

When you’re working hard, it’s easy to forget about taking food and water breaks. Make sure you stop working periodically to eat nutritious meals and drink water to keep yourself hydrated. Warm meals, like soups and hot sandwiches, can keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to continue working in winter weather conditions.

Prepare for the worst

If you work remotely, on a site or spend a lot of time on the road, keep emergency supplies handy. Include flares, candles, matches, nonperishable food, bottled water and emergency blankets in your kit. These supplies can keep you safe until you are able to get help in the event of an emergency, like a vehicle breakdown or unexpected road closure. Even if you never actually have to use your emergency kit, it’s always better to overprepare than to be caught without the necessary supplies in case of an emergency.

You might not be able to avoid exposure to winter weather conditions, but you can certainly do a lot to keep yourself safe on the job. Whether you only spend a few minutes outside while you’re on the clock or you’re constantly working outdoors for your job, these tips can keep you safe and comfortable no matter what the forecast has in store.

Whether you’re looking to move indoors or are ready for a different outdoor job, Award Staffing can help. Browse our job opportunities to find your future.

How to Promote Safety with New Employees

How to Promote Safety with New Employees

When you’re running a company, safety should be of utmost importance in order to reduce injury and stay on top of risk. Many unsafe situations can be attributed to new employees not knowing policies or not knowing what these unsafe situations are. Here’s how you can promote safety with new employees:

Be Proactive

Don’t wait for an incident to occur to tell a new employee that they’re in the wrong or not following directions closely enough. Sometimes, consequences of doing so can be so disastrous that the post-incident instructions might not even be effective. Make sure to train your new employee as you’re going about your day in order to increase the likelihood that you can proactively cover different issues.

Reward Good Behavior

Good behavior often goes hand-in-hand with safety, so it’s a great idea to reward good behavior. You can do this, however, your company decides, but it is important to publicly recognize new employees for good behavior. When you do so, you are cementing the importance of safety for your entire company and setting the precedent for any new employees to come.

Review the Policies Regularly

Your company has safety policies that help keep everyone in line, appropriate, and ultimately safe. It’s your job to see that your new employee knows the policies and adheres to them whenever possible. If you do this, you will avoid a lot of unsafe situations as the new employee will be more aware of their possibilities.

Ask if There Are Questions

A lot of unsafe situations are created simply by new employees being confused. Make sure you check in with your new employee regularly to see if s/he has any questions. If they don’t understand a rule or policy, keep explaining it to them in different ways until they do. Different employees have different learning styles, so as long as you cater to them, you should be on the right path.

If you have reviewed these suggestions and think it’s time to hire a new employee, contact Award Staffing. We will help you find an employee who is well-suited for your company and also is a rule follower. Much of the confusion surrounding safety can be avoided at the hiring stage; we’d like to help you do that.

 

FINDING YOUR TALENT

Want to learn more about how Award Staffing can help your organization with your staffing and employment needs? Start by providing our team with a few pieces of information about yourself, and we will take care of the rest.

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The Secret to a Healthy Back at Work

The Secret to a Healthy Back at Work

Many factors in the workplace can cause back pain including heavy lifting, repetitive movements and sitting at a desk all day. It is essential to understand the facts about back pain at work to learn how to prevent it. Common causes of back pain at work are:

· Force- Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
· Repetition- Repeating certain movements, especially those that involve twisting or rotating your spine, can injure your back.
· Inactivity- Both an active job or a desk job can contribute to back pain, especially if you have poor posture or sit all day in a chair with inadequate back support.

Back pain and lifestyle factors-

Factors such as aging, being overweight, and poor physical condition also can contribute to back pain. It is essential to maintain a healthy weight to minimize stress on your back. To keep a healthy weight, it is necessary to eat a healthy diet. It is also vital to ensure that you consume enough calcium and vitamin D because these nutrients can help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle and is responsible for many of the bone fractures that lead to back pain.

It is crucial to combine aerobic exercise (swimming, walking, etc.) with exercises that strengthen and stretch your back muscles and abdomen. Exercises that increase your balance and strength can also decrease your risk of falling and injuring your back. (consider yoga and weight-bearing exercises). The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week.

Preventing back pain at work-

You can take steps to avoid and prevent back pain and injuries at work. For example:

Pay attention to posture:

When standing, balance your weight evenly on your feet. Don’t slouch. To promote good posture when sitting, choose a chair that supports your spinal curves. Adjust the height of your chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor or a footrest and your thighs are parallel to the floor. Remove your wallet or cell phone from your back pocket when sitting to prevent putting extra pressure on your buttocks or lower back.

Lift properly:

When lifting and carrying a heavy object, lift with your legs and tighten your core muscles. Hold the object close to your body. Maintain the natural curve of your back. Don’t twist when lifting. If an object is too heavy to lift safely, ask someone to help you.

Modify repetitive tasks:

Use lifting devices, when available, to help you lift loads. Try to alternate physically demanding tasks with less demanding ones. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and chair are positioned correctly. If you frequently talk on the phone and type or write at the same time, place your phone on speaker or use a headset. Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching. Limit the time you spend carrying heavy briefcases, purses, and bags. Consider using a rolling suitcase.

Listen to your body:

If you must sit for a prolonged period, change your position often. Periodically walk around and gently stretch your muscles to relieve tension.

It is essential to examine your work environment and address situations that might aggravate your back. Even simple steps to ease or prevent back pain are steps in the right direction.

If you are looking for a short-term or long-term job, contact Award Staffing to help you with your job search. Our team of hiring professional located in Bloomington, Chaska, Crystal, Delano, Maplewood, and Ramsey Minnesota to help you with your job search today! We will be able to match you up with interviews in your area so you can get the job opportunity you want.