Closing the Skills Gap

It’s back to school time for a lot of young people – but just because you’re out of school doesn’t mean you should stop learning. There are always plenty of opportunities throughout your career to continue your education – and more and more, companies are relying on employees who seize these opportunities.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

With more and more industries seeing an almost constant growth in their workloads – as well as industries finding themselves evolving to meet output demands and modern safety standards alike – n, many companies are finding that they there is a need for more skilled workers in their employee lineup. Unfortunately, in many cases, this need  isn’t being filled, as i’s become increasingly more difficult to find these skilled laborers.

The good news? Even if these skilled workers aren’t lining up at your door, your company can still meet this need for a skilled workforce. In fact, DeWys Manufacturing in Marne, Michigan, found that the solution to this very problem wasn’t finding additional skilled workers: the answer was educating the workers they already had- and in this company’s case, making the shift from, “where do we find skilled workers?” to, “how do we create the training programs to make our workers more skilled?” madeall the difference.

The question then is, how can you create the same benefits and great outcomes as DeWys Manufacturing?

Some companies have created success for themselves by providing short apprenticeship programs to young students just out of school. By taking them in and teaching them the skills needed for their trade, they can ensuring that these young people are already equipped for the job. Out of the 10 or so students who come into a program like this, 6 of them usually come on as full time employees. Ultimately, these young workers are prepared to come in and do a good job from the get go.

But what if you’re working with a more experienced staff? For older, more experienced employees, an apprenticeship is obviously not the appropriate method. Different measures will  need to be taken for people who have been in the industry for some time and need to adapt to new techniques and methods. Fortunately, OSHA offers a multitude of training and educational programs to move employees further in their careers. They even offer training materials if you’re more of a DIY person and you’d prefer to do the learning on your own time at your own pace.

Worried about the cost of these endeavors? You may very well find that assistance programs will put this movement well within your budget; under the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, for example, nonprofits are awarded grants to be put towards developing training and educational programs for employees. For more information on how your organization can go about applying for grants such as this one, head here.

We hope we’ve demonstrated that your education doesn’t have to end just because your years at school have. There are plenty of opportunities for people of all ages and skill sets to continue their learning and to continue on the path of improving themselves. If you think your company could benefit from these types of programs, mention them to your bosses and see how they respond to this possible method of improvement. A good boss will see that, by furthering the education of their employees  gives them incentive to do more with their careers – which in turn can benefit the organization as a whole.

Sources cited

Industry Week 1, 2

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What SpillFix Product Is Right For Your Business?

Image courtesy of SpillFix

Image courtesy of SpillFix

Whenever we talk about an absorbent product, we should always think of that absorbent product as a tool. Like any other tool, when it comes to cleaning up spills at work most of the time one kind of absorbent product will do a better job than another. And as with any other type of tool, different absorbent products will work better on different spills than another type of absorbent product might. Not only that, but the type of absorbent product you use will impact your company’s effectiveness, overall safety, and performance.

SpillFix is just one kind of absorbent product that you may decide to use to clean up fuel spills, chemical spills, or a range of other types of spills. But when exactly is it appropriate to use SpillFix? Today we’ll answer those questions so you can make sure you’re cleaning up spills to the best of your abilities.

What is SpillFix?

SpillFix Industrial Absorbent is a organic, non-toxic absorbent made from coir which is a renewable resource extracted from coconut husks. SpillFix is currently available in both loose, bagged form and boom sock form.

When should I use loose SpillFix absorbent product?

Loose absorbent products are used to clean up most liquid spills at work, and are particularly helpful when you need to clean up a spill that has leaked into cracks and seams that a larger, solid absorbent product couldn’t reach. While some types of loose absorbent products have a bad reputation for containing dangerous crystalline silica and for being dusty and difficult to sweep or shovel up afterwards and generally cumbersome to use, SpillFix removes dust from the equation and, as demonstrations show, is quick and easy to pick up and dispose of.

When should I use SpillFix booms?

If you have a large liquid spill quickly spreading that needs to be simultaneously contained and absorbed, a boom will help you get the job done. Commonly used to contain water-based oil spills, booms are also very effective to use on other kinds of spills that happen at your place of work – both indoors and outdoors. SpillFix booms are especially useful since no spill can be cleaned before it’s been properly contained, meaning that in the event of a spill a boom is a necessity.

As you can see, every worksite needs different spill products to address different spill-related needs. Assessing your workplace and deciding which products meet your safety needs is critical in determining which products to purchase to keep your worksite safe at all times.
Questions? Comments? Interested in learning more about SpillFix’s products? Find us on Facebook and Twitter!

3 Causes Of Back Pain At Work – And How To Prevent It

Persistent back pain can make it impossible to focus when at work. It can also make it impossible to actually complete your tasks. Unfortunately, many industries put a lot of strain on the back, increasing the chances of workers suffering from a range of issues, including minor aches to severe injury. Whether minor or severe, though, back pain is not something anyone wants. Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid it, thereby helping to make your job safer and more enjoyable for you.

 

What causes back pain?

There are many things that can lead to back pain. The most common sources of back pain are:

  • lifting loads that are too heavy
  • lifting loads or items improperly
  • repeating improper movements over and over; by doing movements repetitively, you can cause inflammation to your joints and tendons, contributing to your risk of developing tendonitis or bursitis.

If you think something else is causing your back pain at work, take some time to evaluate that possibility as well. Once you understand what is causing your pain, you can usually easily change your actions or work with your employer to ensure you aren’t inflicting that pain upon yourself.

 

How can you avoid causing pain?

If you find that improper lifting, posture or other bad habits are the cause of your back pain, you can get to work on addressing this issue by doing the following:

Keep your body in good shape. By incorporating strength building exercises into your daily routine, you can train your body to better handle the force of lifting heavy objects. The tricks you pick up at the gym will also come in handy at work. Before lifting an object on the job, you should warm your body up with some stretches. This will increase your flexibility, your range of motion and your ability to lift and carry objects in the moment. These stretches are not only good to perform before strenuous activity, but also after, to help keep your muscles in good form.

Pay attention to your posture before you begin lifting. Bad posture is a common cause of back pain. Keeping your back straight and your head up will prevent you from arching your back which can cause injury. You should also avoid twisting while lifting, which can strain the back. Additionally, ifpossible, start with the object between your feet so that you won’t have to reach in order to lift the object. Finally, always keep the load close to your waist while lifting. This lessens the force placed on your back which lessens the possibility of injury.

Take frequent, short breaks in between activity. Taking short and frequent breaks  is better for your muscles than resting for longer periods of time. This is because your body needs some time to recuperate after lifting heavy things. By giving your muscles more opportunities to recover, you’ll be better able to lift more heavy objects.


While you may think these steps are too much hassle, remember that back pain is a common ailment in every industry, even office workers. That means these tricks are appropriate for any worker, in any industry. By preparing yourself beforehand and exhibiting proper technique, you can prevent serious injuries. (And remember, no matter where you work, the most important thing you can do is to listen to your body. If you notice discomfort, address it immediately to determine what the problem is and fix it before it can cause a serious problem.)

3 Small Things That Make A Big Difference At Work

Springtime is strongly associated with an annual cleaning and clearing out of our homes. But our living area isn’t the only space that deserves a little extra attention. Given that we spend much of our lives in our workspace, it makes sense to give our place of employment a “spring cleaning” lookover, too.

This isn’t just something trendy that you can take part in, either. It’s important to do frequent checkups of your business and suss out any problem areas that need work. When small issue are left unattended, they can grow into bigger issues in the long run. But periodic reviews can keep quality up and prevent larger concerns from seeing the light of day. These are 3 simple things that you can examine during these reviews to upkeep the order in your workplace.

Value Worker Safety

First things first. Start with yourself. Make sure that you are following any and all safety procedures laid out by the company, by the manufacturers of the tools you use, and by overhead organizations such as OSHA. If you demonstrate that you take workplace safety seriously, your colleagues will follow your example. By making it a big deal you can establish that your organization is active in its workers’ safety which will encourage others to follow suit.

Find Ways to Improve Safety Measures

Even if you’re meeting safety requirements, that doesn’t mean you can’t do more to improve safety around your workplace overall. One thing you can do is assess your surroundings by taking a walk around the perimeter of your work floor. Are there things hiding in corners that shouldn’t be? Take a moment to notice obstructions and clutter. When you take notice of these things, your coworkers will take that into consideration and will take note themselves in the future.

You should also spend time with your employees and coworkers to brainstorm solutions to safety concerns. There might be something that you may not have thought of or a problem that you hadn’t noticed. By getting others’ perspectives, you can give yourself a different mindset, which can help you solve safety issues that you might not have even realized were a problem.

Praise Your Team

From a management standpoint, a happy team is a productive one. Take time out of each week or month to meet with the leaders of each team, or with each of the teams as a whole, and get reports on how they are progressing. Give commendation when it is deserved and give advice when it is necessary. Remember: when workers are acknowledged for their hard work, they are more likely to continue the good work in the future.


While you may feel that these 3 things would be a waste of company time, we believe scheduling time to evaluations such as these will save both time and money. When allowed to deteriorate, the state of your organization can easily fall out of tune.  But regularly following these 3 pieces of advice, and taking recurrent reviews of the workspace, you can can often prevent problems that may arise from neglect down the line. Ultimately, it’s much simpler to keep the quality of work high by investing more in it now than later.

On the Job Respiratory Problems: How Can They Be Prevented?

You have to be able to breathe in order to work, right? That’s common sense. The average person breathes in about 2,800 litres of air each workday, more if they are undergoing more physical labor. With so much of your oxygen intake being met at work, the air quality of your workplace is an important aspect of your work environment to consider and keep in mind.

While any workspace can suffer from air quality issues, many common air related problems come with working in construction, factories and warehouses. If there is poor air quality in your workplace, particularly in these three environments, steps need to be taken in order to improve it. While some problems may be harder to address than others, the following three  air quality issues are actually easily preventable if precautions are taken:

1) Allergies

An allergy is defined as “an abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact.” Over 36 million people suffer from allergies in the United States. Individuals who work indoors in offices are usually affected by dust, but those working in factories and warehouses should also be wary of dust mites. Twenty-two million Americans suffer from asthma and that can be easily exacerbated by dust mites.

If your allergies are distracting you from work and making it difficult to concentrate, follow these tips to help clear the air:

  • Dust your workspace frequently. By keeping your station free of dust, you can reduce your risk of being affected by malicious dust particles and dust mites.
  • Are there films of pollen coating the window panes at work? Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from infiltrating the building. Use an air filter and regularly clean the filter to counter pollen build up.
  • Mold spores thrive in damp areas. Check often for puddles and immediately mend any leaks found to halt any mold spore intrusions.
  • Consider wearing a face mask when performing any work outdoors during windy days or peak pollen times (between 10 AM and 4 PM).

2) Poor Ventilation

Do you notice a musty smell at work? Do you suffer from symptoms, like headaches or tiredness, that start in the workplace but dissipate once you leave work? Your workplace could have poor ventilation. To address this problem, try doing the following:

  • Regularly change filters on air purifiers and air filters. If an air filter is left to collect too much build-up, it won’t be able to properly do its job. If you regularly clean your workspace you can cut down on the number of times you need to replace your filter.
  • Make sure each fuel burning device is ventilated separately.
  • If allergies aren’t a problem, open windows and let fresh air into the room.

3) Inhalation of Chemicals

Working with and alongside heavy chemicals can cause serious health issues. Chemicals can be inhaled into the body in the form of gases, mists and dusts. Symptoms of chemical inhalation include irritation of the eyes and nose, a cough, or shortness of breath – and in some cases, the ingredients in certain chemicals can contribute to the development of serious health ailments. Follow these steps to prevent inhaling harmful chemicals while at work:

  • Gas masks should be readily available on-site in the event of a chemical spill. All workers should be trained on the proper use and when to use a gas mask.
  • Always use extreme care when handling dangerous chemicals. Remember, the best way to avoid inhalation is to follow safety protocols for the handling and transportation of hazardous substances – and it’s better to be careful and safe than reckless and sorry!
  • Knowledge is power! Be sure to educate workers on the types of chemicals they are working with, as well as about the appropriate ways of handling each one. This will help to prevent any problems or misunderstandings among the people who have been designated to handle chemicals on-site.

These are just three examples of how anyone can begin to address common and likely air quality issues at their place of work. It’s important to remember, however, that while some issues can be handled in-house, other problems may require additional outside assistance before being addressed. Because of this, it’s important for every staff member at a company to be on-board with supporting air quality procedures at their place of work.

Don’t wait for problems to develop before bringing up your concerns with management. And if you feel like there is a problem in your workplace with poor air quality that has not been properly managed until now you should bring it up with your supervisor or with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Spillfix: Great For The Environment, Great For Your Bottom Line

As we mentioned last week, being environmentally responsible can be beneficial not only for the Earth, but for your business as well. Being proactive in conservation and recycling paves the way for a better future for younger generations, while also appealing to local neighbors and consumers, who might otherwise frown upon your business’ wasteful habits. Another important step to take when attempting to go green and be environmentally responsible, however, is using products at your place of work that create less waste.

It can be difficult to find products that match up with those goals of conservation, particularly within the industrial businesses we regularly work with. To help meet this need, we set out to create an environmentally responsible product that would help make your business better also. The result? SpillFix, a product that every company should consider investing in – for four key reasons:

  1. Spillfix is created from an organic renewable resource: coconut husks! Because we use a sustainable resource, the earth’s other limited reserves aren’t being depleted. Over 70 million coconut husks are produced in Asia each year, and no coconut trees are cut down in the process of manufacturing Spillfix, leaving the trees to sprout more coconuts for future use. All of these things make Spillfix the most ecologically sustainable absorbent product available.
  2. Because we manufacture Spillfix in local factories located inside the coconut plantations, waste from shipping and transportation of the raw materials is drastically reduced. Therefore, diffusion of pollutants into the atmosphere is diminished and the carbon footprint of our product is minimized.
  3. Spillfix has been tested against the USEPA Leachate standards for landfill disposal making it safe for disposal in landfills (although you should always check with local authorities to verify whether or not your local laws contain additional rules to comply with). Also, Spillfix is still usable after its life-cycle has worn out, as the hydrocarbons absorbed after its use can be used as a fuel source in energy producing incinerators.
  4. Spillfix is biologically stable and free of harmful micro-organisms. Because of this, when SpillFix is discarded, it can create a perfect environment for the biodegrading organisms to develop – all while steadily holding onto any material it has absorbed, protecting the environment from any previously absorbed spills. So instead of damaging the environment when disposing of SpillFix, it can actually improve it.


These four features of SpillFix highlight why SpillFix is the best choice for industrial absorbent. It’s non-harmful to the environment when you dispose of it. Producing it doesn’t negatively impact the coconut trees or the environment. And being made from coconut husks means it’s a renewable resource. SpillFix is environmentally responsible and using it will help your business make the step towards being environmentally friendly.

Companies Must Prepare and Equip Employees For Offsite Spills

Workplace safety is a term that is relevant beyond the office or warehouse environment. In fact any employee in your chain of production and distribution is under your care. If your company transports products out to fuel distributors, liquid distributors or oil distributors, then the chances are that you understand this better than most.

Employees involved in the transportation of fuel, liquid, oil, or chemicals are some of the most underappreciated members in the business world. These men and women are often responsible not only for the safe transport of these valuable goods, but also for responding to an emergency in a way that both protects their own health and eliminates the risk of causing harm to the public or the environment.

Today, these employees are likely either involved in the transport of these goods by train, by truck, by oil tanker, or more often by pipeline. Each of these methods of transport have pros and cons; all of them, in an emergency, have the potential to accidentally release liquid, oil, chemical or fuel spills into the environment.

With this in mind, there are two major safety steps any company that transports these goods must take.

First, they must take responsibility to properly train their employees in responding to emergency situations, especially in case local authorities near a potential spill or accident are not properly equipped to handle the situation themselves.

Second, they must also provide their employees with the proper tools to respond to a potential emergency or spill.

These tools could include everything and anything from full Hazmat suits to a basic absorbent product, depending on the nature of what exactly is being moved. In any case, any company that moves fuel, liquid, oil, or chemicals to fuel distributors, liquid distributors, oil distributors, and other sites should always have several properly prepared spillkits on standby during transport for use in an emergency.

There are many safety groups and government offices that can help a company develop the right spillkit for their needs. After a plan has been developed it’s just a matter of the company purchasing the right absorbents in the right amounts. We recommend including SpillFix products in any spillkit; made from coconut husks, SpillFix offers a renewable resource-based cleaning product that promises not to cause any damage during a clean-up in an emergency or after it’s disposed. SpillFix also works far better than the average clay-based absorbent, absorbing any spilled liquid to actually stopping liquid in its path down an incline. Just click below to see a video demonstration:

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With the right training and the right tools, your company’s employees can be the first responders to the scene of an accident – and could even potentially keep that accident from becoming even bigger. Don’t wait: make sure that your safety lists, and your spillkits, are as up to date as possible today.

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