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7 Key Tactics The Pros Use To Avoid Workplace Injuries

7 Key Tactics The Pros Use To Avoid Workplace Injuries
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Sadly, when an employee’s injured on the job, the recurring medical costs add up and, unless you have extremely deep pockets, these costs will become a serious burden real fast.

Not to mention the tragedy of a human getting hurt in the first place. The best to avoid anybody getting hurt in the first place is ensuring every single person who steps into your business knows which hazards are what, and how to prevent them.

1. Clear Pathways

If the walkways and paths that workers use are littered with clutter, junk, and giant obstructions… How can you expect busy, multi-tasking, busily-thinking workers not to trip and slip while they’re on the job?

Making sure common areas are well-lit is a sure-fire approach to ensure people get to their destination fall-free. Think of implementing slip-resistant flooring that serves the primary function of each particular area – like rubber mats in restaurant kitchens.

Slip-resistant flooring may just be an incredibly genius invention – as foot traffic, much like an ocean wave, comes and goes in waves and droves. One minute it’s busy, the next it’s not, and it’s hard to figure out exactly what the busiest times are going to be, day in and day out.

2. Don’t Strain Yourself

We live in the world of technology, there’s no getting around there. Everywhere we look, there’s another piece of tech to keep us reeled in and tuned-in to the entire world. Even simple, mundane tools that have been in our lives since the 80s; keyboards, mice, screens, etc. Without the proper ergonomic equipment to keep ourselves functioning, these devices end up crippling us.

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One way to combat all of this is by designing (and creating) your very own ergonomic office. Pretty cool, right?

3. Stay Up-To-Date About Hazards

Be vigilant out there! It’s not enough to know about hazards – new ones are developing all the time, and you’ve got to know them forwards and backwards. You have to know more about them than what your spouse’s favorite dish is for dinner.

And then educate employees about how to prevent them, and on what to do in case these hazards occur.

Think about smartphones: people crossing the street while looking at their phone! How dangerous is that? Think about all the moronic drivers there are in the world – people who don’t pay attention and are reckless with what they do in traffic. Maybe some lunatic driver’s looking at his/her phone the exact moment some poor desolate soul decides to cross the street – eyes glued to the phone. Nobody bothers using their eyes at all, and you see a hit-and-run waiting to happen.

Knowledge isn’t just power – it’s life-saving.

4. Safety Management Systems

These systems are predictive analytics whose primary function is simple: sort through several projects and identify the chances one of those projects will cause an injury.

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The VP of one large electrical contractor and system integrator used his safety management system on Friday. By Monday, he looked at the results. The high-risk activities were reviewed and discussed by the team, and they worked together to find ways of managing that risk and preventing injury.

Sure enough, it worked! Problem was, an injury happened later on in the week. As always, the point is this: safety management systems work -when used correctly – to predict high-risk activities and take preventative measures.

5. Hardhats

There’s no short of trips to the ER to fix concussions, fractured necks, and a whole treasure chest of falling-object injuries.

Sometimes, things come flying and falling at your head every which way from Tuesday. Hardhats in environments and spaces like these are a must – in fact, this should be mandatory by now. That’s the most common way to save your noggin from slobbering all over the concrete.

Another way?

Always wearing proper PPE. Safety glasses, goggles, face shields, etc. It’s the 21st century – I’ve met tons of managers who couldn’t be bothered to wear anything on their precious, sweet-as-sugar mug. Anything to maintain safety in the workplace.

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Sadly, vehicles are often involved in “struck by..” accidents; regular, real-world safety measures such as fastening seat belts, checking vehicles thoroughly, and wearing incredibly-visible/neon-bright clothing are a necessity. There is no chance of being too over the top when it comes to protecting peoples’ lives.

6. Safety Software

Workplace injuries can be predicted with 97% accuracy. This is big. Huge, even.

Why? It goes without saying that if injuries can be predicted, they can be prevented.

In fact, how does reducing an injury rate by 67% within 18 months feel to you? A Fortune 150 energy company did just that. How would reducing your workday rate by 97% in 12 months feel? A Fortune 150 manufacturer did exactly that, using analytics.

Gone are the ways of boring, old, inefficient conventional methods – tech is here to save the world again. Machine-learning algorithms developed in Pittsburgh, such as the CMULT (Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Translation Institute) manufactured such a money-and-life-saving device.

In fact, a safety software system called SafetyNet (right on point with that name) red-flagged 4 out of 10 locations as being high-risk for injuries. You can bet that the people who read those results did their best to prevent those injuries – all thanks to the simplicity of collecting workplace safety data.

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Bonus tip: it’s OSHA’s responsibility to develop new strategies and regulations when it comes to workplace safety. This extends to forklift maintenance and it is important to get your team certified for it. Follow OSHA’s safety protocols as soon as you can.

7. Overexertion

If there’s a task you’re struggling with? Swallow your pride and ask for help – you’re a part of a team. How valuable to the team are you if you’re injured and home-ridden for the next few months? Recuperating for any number of reasons.

There’s a common problem storming through the business world. It’s a monster that’s been running rampant for ages. It’s called overexertion, pushing yourself too far by doing too much – going far past your personal limits.

Some symptoms of overexertion are:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains and/or profuse sweating

Granted, not many of us have the luxury of a pair of second hands or help. In this case, I’m sure we can all agree that proper training (and training techniques) is absolutely vital in this case – right?

Last Thoughts

Preventing injuries to your workers, or yourself, is as simple as using common sense. There is no shortage of information about health and safety, and I hope you’ve found something useful. Be safe out there.

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Featured photo credit: pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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