Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Office Safety: Ergonomics


As we return from the holiday lets us still keep in mind that safety is key. The word ergonomics has become a buzzword over the last decade. What does it really mean? Ergonomics is a fancy term for the science of workplace safety. Traditionally, when you moved into a new office you received a desk, chair and office equipment, and you had to fit into them. However, improper positioning while performing repeated procedures such as typing and using the telephone causes physical injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome caused by strain on wrist muscles and tendons, pinched nerves and muscle spasms. 

Ergonomics is the science of adjusting equipment to fit you, so that you aren’t straining any muscles, joints or nerves. This makes it easier and safer to do your work. Manufacturers now market ergonomic chairs, desks, wrist rests, keyboards and lighting. It is wonderful equipment, but if you really want to benefit from it, you must use it correctly. Let’s create the safest environment we can.

If it hurts, stop doing it! As soon as you notice that there is some discomfort in anything you are doing, stop for a moment and look at how you are sitting, moving, and at what hurts. Look for another way to do your task. Examine the equipment you are using. If it has been marketed as ergonomic, it is probably adjustable. Learn how to adjust it to better fit you.

Here are some adjustments that will make you more comfortable, more productive and healthier!

For your back:

Your chair should be lined up straight with the desk or table area on which you are working. Do not sit at an angle. It requires twisting the back or head and neck, which will throw your body out of alignment and causes strain.

  • Sit up straight. It is very tempting to bend over or slouch, but you will tire more quickly.
  • Avoid twisting around to get things. Let the chair do that for you.
  • Avoid placing items you use frequently above your head or behind your back. Try to organize your space so that these are readily available or put them out of reach so you have to get up to get them.

For your shoulders, arms and forearms:

Shoulders should be relaxed. Avoid pulling your shoulders up. Try rolling them in a circle. Begin moving them forward then around and up and back down towards the back. It will position them correctly and it is a good exercise to do when you get tired.

  • Arms should hang straight down from your shoulders.
  • Keep your elbows close to the body, avoid lifting them above chest height.
  • Forearms can be in a variety of positions comfortably depending on what you are doing:
  • For handwork like typing and light assembly, your forearms should be at a 900 angle to your upper arms.
  • For work involving close inspection or viewing like threading a needle, bend the forearms to bring work into closer view, instead of leaning forward.
  • For work requiring the use of force, like packing or pushing, the arms should be almost in a straight line.

For your head, neck and eyes:

Face your work head-on; don’t sit sideways or work with your head twisted to the side. If you spend a lot of time at a computer, get a stand that will hold your paperwork up next to the screen. It will keep you from constantly having to turn your neck back and forth as you look from the screen to the paper.

  • Don’t stick your neck out (forward) it weighs about 15 pounds.
  • Don’t stick you head back, most of the time you should be looking straight ahead or slightly down. If you have a computer screen that sits low on a desk surface, put something under it to raise it to the right height.
  • Don’t hold the telephone between your shoulder and cheek. Either hold it with your hand or use a headset, which will free you to talk on the phone and write comfortably at the same time.
  • Avoid eyestrain - keep your workplace evenly lit. There should be overhead lighting as well as task-specific lighting on the desk or work surface. Never work in the dark on a computer or at a task with only one light over the work surface. Never put your computer in front of a window. Adjusting to the differences in light levels between your computer screen and the area around you will cause significant eyestrain.

For your hands and wrist:
  • Keep your wrists straight. The normal position for a handshake is a straight wrist position. It’s all right to rotate your hand, but avoid bending your wrist.
  • When working on the computer, don’t let your wrists drop. Keep your hands floating above the keyboard.
  • Don’t prop your hands on wrists rests or other supports.
  • Don’t reach for your mouse; place it in a comfortable position so your arm and forearm stay at about a 900 angle

For your hips, legs, knees and feet:
  • Hips should be fully supported by the chair seat.
  • Knees should be at the same height or slightly higher than your hips when you’re seated. A footrest will help raise the knees into a comfortable position.
  • The edge of the chair should not cut into the back of your knees.
  • Feet should be flat on the floor or other support. Do not sit with your knees crossed. It will throw your back out of alignment and cause significant strain.
  • Wearing very high heels while seated may cause ankle and leg strain.

For standing work:

If your work involves standing for long periods, in addition to the other tips do the following:
  • Wear comfortable footwear
  • Consider using fatigue mats
  • If work involves standing in one spot, try using a bar rail support. If you prop a foot up while standing, it eases a lot of the stress on your lower back.

For heavy loads:
  • Carts are essential if you must carry heavy loads.
  • Use the elevator instead of the stairs when carrying heavy objects.
  • Automatic staplers and postage machines may also be used to reduce wrist and hand strain.

Break up your day:
  • Break up long tasks into smaller time segments.
  • Example: Don’t save all your filing till the end of the day and spend 3-4 hours standing.
  • Vary the work during the day.
  • Move from seated to standing work or from work requiring lots of hand motion to work requiring little hand motion.
Last but just as important let people know if there is a problem or potential problem. Your company can’t help make the workplace a safer place to work if you don’t let them know what your needs are. Report it!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Safe School: The Yabatech Fire Incident


Safety Consultants and Solutions Provider Limited has for some time been advocating for school safety in Nigeria with her #10fingers10toes #SafetyCounts campaign, Yaba Tech hostel recently caught fire the following LFI is an account given by Hammed Usman a fireman and safety professional on the constant neglect that resulted in the YABATECH fire incident.

This is the second time YABATECH will be having this kind of fire incident in less than 10years, the first happened at the food village some years back and the response to the incident by the management was to strengthen the almost dead fire department. Today the fire department is as dead as it was before the first fire incident as the necessary mercenaries for effective fire prevention and fire emergency response are either lacking or inappropriate. YABATECH is not the only institution with this problem, sometimes last year; UNILAG had a fire incident which almost took the lives of 3 of their female students. The response of the school’s management to the incident is to purchase ‘’newly’’ refurbished fire truck, paint the fire station and re-employ the existing firemen. At least these two higher institutions of learning has an existing fire department, what do we say about many others in the country that do not have a functioning fire extinguisher not to talk of fire station? I did a research some years ago about occupational health and safety in Nigerian Higher Institution of learning using Ladoke Akintola University of technology as a case study, my observation made me to conclude that our schools are nothing but a disaster waiting to happen.

Now let’s look at what they did not get right between the food village fire and the yesterday’s fire incident in the school. The composition of the fire department is what worries me a lot, more that 50% of the firemen in that station are not competent to do the job, they are not trained. I was part of the team that trained the few competent ones working in that organization and they said that they had to sponsor themselves for the training in order to get promoted to the next level. A promotion only the chief fire officer got. The others are still on their pre training level even after they had to sponsor themselves for the training. They lost their money and time.
There was also a time that the management decides to install fire hydrant round the whole school, a project which was successful but with the major failure of not producing water. How will the fire hydrant produce water when water doesn’t run in the hostels 24/7?

Looking at the type and size of the fire on November 23rd, it is very obvious that the fire teams responding to the incident will be overwhelmed because they lack the capacity to fight it. The fire truck of the college is as old as the school itself with less than 2500liters water carrying capacity, the numbers of hose are inadequate and busted leading to pressure loss, there is no standard firefighting ladder, the pump on the fire truck cannot give the required 150PSI pressure required for safe and effective firefighting, no crowd control, no command and control structure in place at the scene of incident and most importantly the firemen lacks the required PPE needed for adequate fire response to the incident {WHO WAN DIE?}.

What type of proactive fire prevention strategy has the school’s management adopted? Do they do fire drills in the hostels and faculty buildings, do they give orientation to the new intakes in to the hostels, are there fire safety signs in the schools, do the students know about how not to start fire, do the student know what to do in case of fire incident, are there fire extinguishers in the hostels, are the fire extinguishers functioning, do the portals know how to use the fire extinguishers, are there floor captains and safety champions in the hostels of residence? These are questions looking for answers from both the management of the institution and the fire department.

It’s a pity that with time we will forget this incidents until another one happens then we will think of what to do again without doing anything. It has happened to yabatech now, where it will happen again no one knows, it can be in UNILAG, LAUTECH, LASU, OAU, IBADAN, ABU, NNSUKA, or any other higher institution of learning in the country. It can even be in your home, your place of worship, your place of relaxation, your workplace, in the bus and any other place. I implore the management of the school to implement the following recommendations so as to prevent and mitigate future occurrence.
  • Develop and implement a fire safety policy for the school
  • Recruit more young blood into the fire department
  • Train your firemen
  • Develop a regime of drill for the firemen. Revive the old practice of Thursday morning drills which must be documented and monitored by a senior management staff of the school.
  • Invite a competent and well trained fire expert to monitor and participate in the drill for firemen
  • Get a modern fire engine for the school
  • Get the required PPE for the firemen
  • Encourage other staff {teaching and non-teaching} to volunteer as fire fighters.
  • Get PPE and necessary training ready for the volunteers
  • Have a fire safety orientation training every semester for all intakes in to the halls of residence.
  • Start a regime of fire protective equipment maintenance and document
  • Start a regime of fire drills in all buildings in the schools and document. The fire drill should be conducted by the school’s fire department
  • Install adequate safety signs in all halls of resident
  • Provide an adequate means of water supply to the fire hydrants

Monday, 10 October 2016

10 Fingers.. 10 Toes.. #SafetyinSchoolCounts

10 Fingers.. 10 Toes.. #SafetyinSchoolCounts
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As the summer holidays come to an end, there is something that is common at this time especially for those that have kids. SCHOOL, either selecting a new school or resuming an academic session. School safety is an important factor to consider. Parents are particularly concerned about school security and school safety because no parent want to lose their kids to an accident or have kids coming home with ill health and injuries as a result of things they are exposed to at their school.
Why should we care about safe schools?
According to an article in Vanguard Education published on October, 2015. “There are at least three compelling reasons for asserting a focus on safe schools.
  • Without safe schools, our dream of harnessing the power of education for achieving goals in health, food, employment, environmental, energy, security, among a miscellany of other subsets of human security will come to naught.
  • Without safe schools, Education for All will remain a pipe dream
  • attainment of post-2015 global development goals.

Without safe schools, quality education yearned by all countries of the world will be hindered. The terminal point of the logic is: no safe schools and no future for the world.” ……One of the most important promises made by schools is safety of the children, students, while they are in the school or within a stipulated set of hours. The issues are; are these promises being kept? Are schools safe?
Most school proprietors will answer “YES” to the above question and also bring in some philosophical sentiments. If you press further they will most likely tell you they have Security guards and some security provision and also they have faith that no harm will befall them as long as they pray and God protect their students. But this is not safety.

So, let's clarify school safety:
Safety, in this context, is about keeping the school environment free of hazardous situations that could put at risk the lives of students or school pupils.

There are two areas to watch out for when it comes to safety, Unsafe conditions and Unsafe acts. Unsafe conditions refer to situations or circumstances that jeopardize the safety of your students. Some unsafe conditions are (Slippery floor, hazardous chemicals like asbestos in the school environment, inflammable substances (Petrol, Lab Chemicals), crowded classrooms, Poor construction etc.)
With this in mind, we can agree that a large percentage of schools in Nigeria are not safe in the accepted sense of the word, most classrooms are crowded, obviously, more money for the school but then more jeopardy for student safety. Fire exits and fire extinguishers are missing or present and not adequate, no safety signages and fire drill is not a culture, no adequate first aid provision, and there is general lack of knowledge about safety among students, teachers and workers.

Keeping a school secure and safe is a very important task that should not be taken lightly. There are many ways to increase safety of schools and minimize risks of attacks and other dangers. The importance of having a safe and secure learning environment for the academic development of Nigerian students cannot be overemphasized. If you are a school owner, you need to fix these safety issues urgently, if they exist in your school.
The solution is simple, a school safety management system should be drawn up by qualified safety professionals, with adequate risk assessment of the Hazards present and the ways to eliminate them, through safe practice, use of safety signages, emergency lights and evacuation signs, fire extinguishers, safety training for staffs and student on how to respond in case of an emergency.
As a forward looking Safety company, Safety Consultants and Solutions Provider Limited is ready to work with as many public and private schools to ensure the safety of the students in their custody. This includes Provision of First aid items, Fire extinguishers, Safety Signages, emergency evacuation plans, conduct drills and organize safety training at all levels of education from the Nursery level up to the tertiary level. Kindly visit our online shop on
www.safetysolutionsng.com also contact us at info@safetysolutionsng.com today for a free safety consultation.

Copyright © 2016 Safety Consultants & Solutions Provider Ltd All rights reserved.


Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week
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The 9th of October, 2016 has been set aside as Fire prevention day. Fire prevention day will begin the Fire Prevention week herald by the NFPA in America. The theme for this year is still on the home smoke alarm and the importance in homes and businesses, 2016 being the third year the NFPA will raise awareness on this issue. This year it’s mostly focused checking the smoke alarms and ensure functionality.

A smoke alarm is critical for the early detection of a fire in your home, offices or school and could mean the difference between life and death. Fires can occur in a variety of ways and in any room of your home. But no matter where or how, having a smoke alarm is the first key step toward your family’s safety.
Every year a large number of people lose their lives and property in domestic fires that if detected early would have been brought under control. The CPSP reported in June, 2016 that In a fire, smoke and deadly gases tend to spread farther and faster than heat. That's one reason why most fire victims die from inhalation of smoke and toxic gases, not from burns. A majority of fatal fires happen when families are asleep because occupants are unaware of the fire until there is not adequate time to escape. A smoke alarm stands guard around the clock, and when it first senses smoke, it sounds a shrill alarm. This often allows a family the precious, but limited, time needed to escape.

A study by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reportedly found out that at least 5 million homes in the U.S. still don’t have smoke alarms. This statistic is much higher in Nigeria with almost 98% of Homes not having any alarms or form of detection of fire.
According to the NFPA, having a working smoke alarm cuts one’s chances of dying in a reported fire in half. But since most of us are so accustomed to this appliance, it becomes easy to take it for granted and remember how important it is to our security. Obviously, your smoke alarm’s primary function is to notify you of any suspicious smoke inside your house. This includes anything from burnt cooking, improperly extinguished cigarettes/cigars (actually among one of the most common causes of fire), and electrical fires. Your alarm will sound at the first sign of trouble, hopefully notifying you of the fire before flames can spread to other parts of the house. Likewise, many electrical fires first take shape as a spark followed by smoldering wires. Your alarm will be able to give you some warning before the fire gets out of control, protecting you and your family.

To optimize your safety in the event of a fire, we recommend taking the following steps:
  • Install the proper number of smoke alarms for your home. In general, it is recommended to have an alarm on each floor of the house, in every bedroom, and outside every sleeping space.
  • Teach children about fire safety. Properly functioning smoke alarms are useless if no one knows how to react in the event of a fire. If you have kids in the home, teach them how to safely exit the house if a fire ignites. Remind them not to stop to grab any toys or belongings to bring with them, as this is many children’s first instinct.
  • Test your smoke alarms monthly. This can be effortlessly done by holding down the test button on the front of the alarm.
  • Ensure the smoke alarms are working in optimum condition
If you need assistance with your smoke alarm or would like to schedule a home safety inspection, contact Safety Consultants and Solutions Providers Limited on 08081314194, info@safetysolutionsng.com, www.safetysolutionsng.com . We design the best fire safety systems ever!
Copyright © 2016 Safety Consultants & Solutions Provider Ltd All rights reserved.