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Safety in the Workplace

We all know the warning signs we see when in a car. The stop signs, crossing signs, and stop lights all keep us safe on the road. At home, we are all in charge of making our houses safe in the best ways we can for ourselves and our families. In the work environment, in can be hard to adjust to the new area and understand what is needed to remain safe. There are many tips we have for you to do your best to keep yourself and others safe while at work.

Be Aware

The most important thing to remember when trying to remain safe in the office is to be aware of your surroundings. Always concentrate on where you are going instead of texting or listening to loud music while walking. There may be a wet floor sign or something harmful on the ground that you could miss if you are not concentrating on where you are stepping. It’s very important to have your ears open too, just in case you don’t see those harms but someone else is there to warn you.

Company Policies

When you first are hired, talk with your boss about safety regulations. Ask about what the policy is on robberies, lockdowns, fires, and any other emergency you can think of. Memorize the lockdown drill and where the best emergency exits are located. If your boss assigns you an emergency role, be responsible for learning it. Your role could be pushing an alarm button or putting out a small fire in your designated area with a fire extinguisher. Whatever it is, make sure you practice it in your mind over and over until you have it down so that you can have a clear mind during an emergency.

Fire Safe Area

It is very important to try to keep your own area safe. One of the ways to do that is to make sure it is fire safe. Make sure your desk isn’t always cluttered, because then it becomes harder to contain if a little fire begins. You should make it a priority to protect important items and documents by using fire safe file cabinets or safes. Also, make sure that file cabinets, carrying cases, and other large objects are not obstructing your path to the fire exits. Every day, take a small break and walk your path to the nearest fire exits. Make sure that nobody has put anything in the way that could prevent you or others from getting out of the building.

Individual Safety

Now that the obvious physical safety concerns have been met, let’s talk a little more about mental, emotional, and internal health. An everyday office job can have horrible effects on a person’s well-being. Stress overloads often occur, depression can settle in, heart disease, back pain, and other horrible problems can easily become a reality to any worker. The mental and emotional problems from work can be reversed simply by decluttering and reorganizing your mind. Many people hold in more stress than is needed. Little things like to-do lists to get your thoughts on paper, listening to music, using a fidget pen or spinner, cleaning your desk at the end of the day, and taking short breaks can do a lot to improve your productivity and emotions. As for the back pain, what type of chair you have and how you sit in it can affect you greatly. If you can, try to find the best chair for you, and maybe even get a back support or footrest if you need. Make sure that you do your best to have good posture and often stand up, even if just for a minute every hour. The more short, walking breaks you take throughout the day, the less likely you are to gain weight and increase your risk for heart disease.

Prevent Getting Sick at Work

Even if you don’t work in a hospital or daycare, the chances of getting sick are still high in a busy workplace. With flu season not that far away, follow these essential tips to keep yourself sneeze-free and happy at work.

 

 

 

1. Wash your hands as often as possible. After the water cooler, after meeting with a client, and after your lunch break. Try to make it a routine part of your day.

2. Once a week disinfect the things you touch regularly including your keyboard, mouse, phone, pens, stapler, scissors, and even the outside of your water bottle.

3. Avoid touching doorknobs, handles on bathroom stalls and faucets, the water cooler, coffee maker, and other commonly used work items. Place a paper towel over your hand and make sure that these items are regularly disinfected as well.

4. This should be obvious, but can be difficult at times especially in a small office- staying away from those who are sick. With meetings, conferences, and close working areas this can be hard to maintain, but it is simply the most effective way to ensure you do not get sick.

5. Resist the urge to touch your face. We are constantly touching our face, specifically eyes, nose, and lips. It can be a subconscious thing yet once you realize how often you touch surfaces you can become more aware.

 

 

6. Strive to eat healthier. Keep healthy snacks at work and try to avoid going to the vending machine for that mid-afternoon snack. Healthier foods are shown to be full of vitamins that keep you alert, focused, and full. The more nutritious food you fill up with, the easier your body can defend itself against intruding viruses.

7. Exercise- even at work. Take a 5 minute break to walk around the building, or go for a small jog on your lunch break. Working out regularly is shown to strengthen the immune system, which can help protect against viruses and illness.

8. Drink lots and lots of water!

While these tips are not fool-proof, they can go a long way with keeping healthy in the workplace.

What is Identity Fraud & Identity Theft?

fraud

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal details. Identity fraud is when a criminal uses your information without your knowledge to obtain credit, goods or other services fraudulently. The personal cost to victims is not just financial, it can be a long and traumatic process to reclaim your identity.

Both at home and work we deal with pieces of information on a daily basis that may seem harmless individually, but when pieced together can be very valuable to criminals who could use that information to obtain passports and driving licenses in your name, open bank accounts, get credit cards, loans and state benefits.

 

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

Throughout the day, you may be at risk for identity theft at home, when you are out and about and Online. If you know where to look, and how to protect yourself, the chances of becoming a victim become much lower. Essentially, identity thieves are looking for personal details about you, your family or even your business – like your full name, current or previous address, date of birth and other key details like your bank account or credit card details for example.

Here are some examples of the methods identity thieves might use to get your information:

At Home

Bin Raiding – Identity thieves may go through the rubbish you throw out. Utility bills, bank and credit card statements and even letters or CV’s all carry valuable personal information that can used to steal an identity. Make sure you shred all documents that you wouldn’t want to fall into the hands of a stranger.
TIP: Use a cross-cut or micro-cut shredder for ultimate security.

Mail Forwarding – By not asking the postal service to redirect your mail when moving house, you are potentially providing fraudsters with a wealth of information about you delivered direct to their doorstep. Make sure when you change address you get your mail redirected to your new address for at least a year.

Unsolicited Contact – Phone calls claiming to be from banks asking you to update your personal information should be regarded with caution. Also fraudsters posing as market researchers may ask for personal information over the phone. Credible organisations will not mind you double checking their authenticity before providing such information.

Out and About

Theft Of Wallet Or Purse – The average purse or wallet contains bank cards, credit cards and valuable identity documents including driving licenses and membership cards. Victims realise very quickly that their wallet has been stolen but often do not realise the value of the information contained within it until it is too late.

 

Card Skimming – This usually occurs when a thief gets your information by ‘skimming’ or copying your credit card information when you make a purchase. They often then sell the information to professional criminal gangs. Like phishing, skimming can be used on its own to collect enough information to use your card fraudulently without stealing your entire identity.

Online

Personal Information Online – Anybody that uses the internet will regularly be asked to share personal information to gain access to websites and buy goods. Increasingly people are also placing large amounts of personal information about themselves on social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, Linkedin and MySpace. Be cautious about the personal information you broadcast online. Fraudsters often look here for information.
Phishing – This term describes identity theft via email. Fraudsters will send an email claiming to be from a bank, a credit card company or other organisation with which you might have a relationship, asking for urgent information. Typically the email will ask you to click on a link to enter your account details on the company’s website to protect against identity fraud or to avoid your account being deactivated. But if you click on the link in the email you will be taken to a website which looks genuine, but has in fact been created by fraudsters to trick you into revealing your private information. The fraudsters then use the information provided to set about obtaining money from your accounts.

 

More Information and Useful Links

Protecting Your Information:  There are some very simple steps you can take to help keep your information safe and avoid having your identity stolen. Click here to find out what you should do to keep your ID safe.

Identity Fraud and Your Business: Businesses can also become victims of identity fraud or potentially expose customer or employee information which could lead to identity theft. Again, there are some simple steps your business can take to keep information secure. Click here to find out more.

For information on how to protect yourself online visit getsafeonline.com

If your identity has been stolen or to report a case of identity fraud,
visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

Blog content Via

Getting Your Car Ready for a Road Trip

Getting Your Car Ready for a Road Trip

Summer is finally here, and families across the country are ready to hit the road and get away from it all. Make sure your car is ready for the journey, too. A pre-trip auto checkup could make all the difference. Take good care of your car before you leave, and it will take good care of you out on the road. We’ve put together this handy list of car-care tips to make sure that your road trip is a great one:

An Ounce of Prevention

The easiest way to safeguard your road trip is to let a mechanic perform a full safety inspection on your car a week or so before your trip. Having a mechanic look at your car the day before your trip is not a good idea. If there’s a problem, it could take some time to fix. A big, last-minute auto repair could really throw a wrench into your vacation plans or force you to delay your trip. Or you may even have to rent a car at the last minute, and that can get expensive!

So let a mechanic give your car the once-over a week or two before your trip. In a safety inspection, a mechanic will check everything from fluid levels, belts, and hoses to lights, tires, and brakes to make sure your car is ready for the road.

A safety inspection should cover the following things:

  1. Check the fluids. This includes oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze, windshield washer fluid and brake fluid. If you have not changed your oil in the last 3,000 miles, now would be a good time to change it.
  2. Top off any fluids that are low. Buy extra bottles of each type to keep in the trunk, in case you should need them and are not near a service station.
  3. Do your wipers give you a smear-free view when it rains? If not, replace them before your trip.
  4. Make sure your car’s battery and cables are securely attached and free of corrosion. Car batteries typically last three to five years.
  5. Check the brakes. Make sure your brakes are at least 50 percent. If they are lower than that, and you are driving more than 1,000 miles round trip, or if you plan on driving in mountains, have the brakes changed.
  6. Make sure all shocks, struts and springs are in good working order. If not, now would be the time to replace them.
  7. Do a tune up. If it has been a while since your last maintenance update (more than three years), do the recommended maintenance for your car. If you have a timing belt and you are within a few thousand miles of the replacement time, have the timing belt replaced.
  8. Check to make sure all lights are working. This includes brakes, turn signals, headlights and taillights. If you are driving a truck with running lights or a motorhome, make sure all running lights are working.
  9. Check the tires. If the tires are showing any tread wear, replace the tires. If the tires have uneven tread wear, check the alignment too. Make sure all four tires and the spare are inflated to proper tire pressure.
  10. Make sure the service engine soon light and any other “dummy lights” in the dash are not lit. If they are lit, fix the problem before you leave (even if the car seems to be running properly)!

Download Our Preparing For A Road Trip Checklist

Prepare for the Worst

No matter how much maintenance you and your mechanic do on a car before a trip, there’s no guarantee that you won’t have auto troubles out on the road. Having a roadside survival kit at the ready will make an unexpected breakdown a lot less stressful. Make sure your kit includes (at a minimum) a blanket, a flashlight with fresh batteries, and some extra food and water.

Keep a copy of your car’s warranty, insurance and contact information for your emergency car care service in the glove box. Whether you have roadside assistance through your car’s warranty or insurance or you belong to an auto care club such as AAA, make sure you have the emergency contact number with you at all times. We recommend keeping these documents in a poly project jacket or travel organizer for extra protection from accidental spills and damage.

Lastly, bring along a spare set of keys to your car and put that spare key in a magnetic car key hider somewhere on your vehicle in case you lose your keys.

Few things spoil a family vacation more quickly than car trouble far from home. Following these pre-trip maintenance tips will ensure that your car is ready for the long road-trip ahead!

Resources: TripAdvisor.com, eHow.com, Bankrate.com

Via

Easy ergonomic exercises while you work

If you have to be at a desk all day long, there are some simple stretches and exercises that you can do. To improve your overall ergonomic health, such as posture and blood circulation, and to avoid strain or injury like blood clots or  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, try the following techniques.

  • Shoulders: Roll your shoulders forward 10 times, then backward. This helps release tension.
  • Arms and Shoulders: Brace your hands on the edge of your desk, each about a shoulder width away from your body. Twist your hands in so they point towards your body and lean forward, hunching your shoulders.
  • Chest: To counter a hunching posture, open your arms wide as if you are going to hug someone, rotate your wrists with thumbs going up and back, then pull your shoulders back. This is a good stretch across your upper chest.
  • Abdomen: Contract your abdominal muscles and hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this for a few minutes throughout the day while you are working at your desk.
  • Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly every hour or so: 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. This helps prevent carpal syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing.
  • Calves: While sitting, lift up your heels, so your weight is on the balls of your feet, then lower them. Repeat until your legs are comfortably tired. This exercises your calves and helps prevent blood blots from developing in your legs.
  • Ankles: Roll your ankles in a clockwise motion three times, then counterclockwise. This helps improve blood circulation and avoids that “pins and needles” feeling.

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How optimal is your office?

For most Americans, nearly one-fourth of life is pent at work. For those working in an office setting, that’s a lot of time sitting at desks and glued to computers. Try to rememebr the last time you actually stopped to think about the efficiency of your physical workspace. workstation optimization can make a significant difference in your ability to get things done. It doesn’t take much though to improve your situation and here are a few simple tips to get you started.

1. Sit well, but not too long
finding a comfortable chair that is adjustable and offers good lower-back support is key to less strain and more productivity throughout the day. But don’t rely on that alone; standing up and moving around at regular intervals throughout your day is importatnt for good ergonomic health. This will ensure continuous blood circulation in your arms and legs, and will keep them from getting too strained. Take walks to the water station to refill your glass. Stretching breaks a frew times a day is even better. In all cases, make certain that the chair you are in supports your back and body.

2. Remember this key point
The keyboard may be the center of your work environment, but it is often placed in an ineffective potion. A keyboard on the desk forces your forearsm into an unnaturla postion and causes tension and muscle fatigue, which in turn can decrease your productivity. The optimal setup is a keyboard tray that attaches to the bottom of your desk and slopes slightly downward away from you. It should sti lower than your elbows, allowing your forearsm to rest in a postion that’s parallel to and slightly above your thighs. Also, rather than centering the entire keyboard unit in front of you, place the keyboard with the space bar ad the central point. If the entire unti is centered, your body isn’t actually aligned with teh part of the device you are using.

3. Stretch your mind, not your eyes (or your neck!)
In terms of your monitor, you want your display to be cetnered directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away when you’re sitting back in your chair. Hunching over to the side to see your screen won’t help your comfort of your ability to focus. In terms of height, most monitors sit on the low side. If you visualize a line going from your eyes to the screen, the line should hit about two to three inches below the top of the monitor. Another thing to keep in sight is a document holder. If you work with physical documents, get an upright holder and put it next to your monitor. Constantly looking down at your desk to view a document and then back up at your monitor can cause neck strain and take a tolld on your eyes over time- and that is obviously going to affect your work as well.

Summer Safety Tips

“Nearly 70 percent of Americans, according to the American Red Cross, have been involved in some kind of summer emergency, ranging from insect bites to heat stroke and other life-threatening situations.

But what can you do if you find yourself facing a summer emergency?

CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton shared the tips below on how to keep your family safe and healthy all summer-long:

HOW TO HYDRATE
• Drink plenty of fluid. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
• If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour
• Avoid liquids with alcohol or sugar — they will cause you to lose more body fluid.
• Stay away from very cold drinks — they can cause stomach cramps.

Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours and wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Monitor young children and elderly people because they are more sensitive to the heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Body temperature can rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. A very important tip for summer health is to drink enough fluids — hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE HEAT STROKE
If they have a body temperature above 103 degrees Farenheit, red, hot dry skin, and there’s no sweating — which means that the body’s sweating mechanism is failing, and the body is unable to cool down. If the person has a rapid strong pulse, headache, dizziness or nausea — call 911 and get the victim to a shady area in the meantime. Try to cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can like spraying them with cool water from a hose.

SYMPTOMS
• Body temp > 103°F
• Red/hot/dry skin
• No sweating
• Rapid pulse
• Headache/dizziness/nausea

HOW TO ALLEVIATE SUNBURN
There’s no fast “cure” for sunburns — it may take days for your skin to heal. To treat the pain, take an over-the-counter pain reliever and keep the area moisturized with aloe or other lotions. Keep the skin cool by using cold compresses or taking a cold bath. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “healthy tan.” Unprotected sun exposure causes premature aging of the skin

HOW TO IDENTIFY POISONOUS PLANTS
A good rule of thumb is “leaves of three, let it be.” Poison oak and ivy usually are clustered in leaves of three. They contain an oil that when gets on your skin can cause an allergic reaction. You only need to be exposed to a very, very little of this poisonous oil — less than one grain of table salt — for it to develop a rash. If you do get it on your skin, immediately rinse skin with rubbing alcohol or a degreasing soap like dishwashing soap and lots of water. Rinse frequently so that wash solutions do not dry on the skin and further spread the urushiol. An antihistamine can be taken to help relieve itching.

BEST WAY TO REMOVE AN INSECT STINGER
NEVER squeeze the area or use tweezers because it may push more venom into the skin. Remove the stinger by either scraping your fingernail over the area or using a straight edge like a credit card. You want to wash the area with soap and water — if there’s swelling, apply ice. Try not to scratch because it may cause an infection.

LEARN CPR
Learn how to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR. This year marks the 50th anniversary of its invention. According to the American Heart Association, “about 80 percent of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in private residential settings,” so knowing how to perform CPR can mean the difference between life and death. It also can resuscitate someone who has suffers a near-drowning — and as we know, summertime means a lot of time at pools. You can find a class at your local American Heart Association chapter or the American Red Cross.”

Article via

How to protect yourself and your business

To help protect you from outside sources that could be harmful to your business we have gathered information from the Wall Street Journal for tips and guidelines on how to avoid identity theft and credit card fraud. In order to avoid it, you need to know it- and we are your source for protection.

According to the article Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud- How to Protect Yourself, there are three main tips that everyone should take BEFORE they potentially could become a victim.

  • If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you might be entitled to free credit monitoring. Look into this! According to the Journal, …”companies and financial institutions have stepped in with products that monitor your credit, reimburse you for lost wages or funds and guard your identity”.
  • Check your financial statements regularly, keeping an eye out for any unfamiliar activity. If you find something irregular, report it ASAP.
  • If you’re especially concerned about identity theft, consider freezing your credit report, which prevents hard inquiries without your permission.
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    For more information and preventative tips click here to read the full article

    Preparing your body & mind!

    We are wrapping up our wellness tips with foursteps to preparing your body and mind for a wet & cold winter! Beyond the usual precautions against cold and flu, there are other things to consider for staying healthy in extreme weather.

    1. Protect your heart– Cold temperatures thicken the blood and constrict arteries, elevating blood pressure and leaving one vulnerable for a heart attack. Keep this in mind before starting physical activity and always do a good warm up. If you must exert yourself with a task such as snow shoveling, work a little at a time, taking breaks  in between.

    2. Help your lungs– Cold air is often dry, irritating the lining of your lungs, bringing on asthma or other problems. In addition, viruses are vibrant in cold weather. To withstand these chilling effects, keep a scarf wrapped over your mouth and nose to moisten the air as you breathe.

    3. Relieve your sinuses– sinus pain is the result of acute inflammation and cogestions of your nasla passages that often occur during the cold and rainy seasons. You may have a headache or feel pain elsewhere in your face or body. To relieve sinus pain, you need to cure the inflammation. Using nasal washes, sitting in steam, drinking non-caffeinated hot teas, and even eating spicy foods can all ease the congestion that may be causing you pain.

    4. Enlighten your brain– Being so far from the sun during winter months can cause chemical changes in teh brain that lead to depression. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). somethings, simple solutions can help. during the day, try to sit in the sun near large windows as much as possbile, which can stablize serotonin, the chemical related to depression.

    Stay tuned for cleaning tips and products later this week! Shop online at www.portersop.com and visit us on facebook at www.facebook.com/portersofficeproducts!