Ergonomic Tip of the Week # 22

For any heavy handling activity, try to grip the object using a power grip (like you would grip a hammer) instead of a pinch grip (like you would grip a pencil). A power grip reduces stresses on the hands, and literally makes you stronger (allows you to lift more weight safely).

The ergonomic tip of the day is provided by Ken Oswald at

ErgoMates – Anti-Fatigue Matting that you wear!

I will be honest with you and let you know that the first time that I saw this product, I chuckled and thought “Whatever!” in much the same way you are probably doing right now.

Here’s the surprising thing, however… they work! Having had to stand all day during a sales convention with just a thin carpet underfoot, I decided to try these on for myself. I had nothing to lose except my dignity which those who know me will be quick to point out, I really don’t have much of to start with. I was amazed at how much better I felt at the end of the day.

I’m not the only one who can vouch for this as the following testimonials prove:

“When I first saw the ErgoMates, I said “No way!”  I was very wrong.  We tried a pair, and my staff loved them.  In fact, they would come into work early to be able to get them first.” – Robert, Laboratory Technical Director, Fisher-Titus Medical Center

“Normally, after standing for 10 hours on a cement floor, my feet are sore.  I tried ErgoMates for a day, and my feet never felt better.  I recommend these to anyone.” – Fred Neal, Welding Shop

“I’ve had two serious  accidents that have left me with arthritis, back, leg, and foot problems.  When I saw ErgoMates I got excited. After putting them on for a trial walk I decided that I had to have them. They take a lot of the shock out of walking on cement floors.  I feel like I’m walking on clouds…” – Dan Koch, Auto Salvage

“Wearing ErgoMates eased the pain in my lower back immensely.  It also gave me traction on the slippery floor I work on.”  – Roanne Wendel, Assembly Line

After all, it makes a lot of sense when you stop and consider it. Instead of putting the anti-fatigue mat on the floor, you simply strap it to your foot.

This product not only saves your back, your knee, you hips, etc… but it can also save the company a ton of money on anti-fatigue matting. In large areas it just isn’t possible to put anti-fatigue matting all over the place; in other situations, employees are walking in areas where matting is not an option because vehicles and other items share the floor space (hospitals, runways at the airport, parking garages, etc…)

Besides the regular ErgoMates with a black strap you can also get them with a white strap for Medical Facilities (ErgoMates MD) as well as with Electric Static Discharge (ErgoMates ESD).

You can read more about them or purchase a pair to try out for yourself on our website here.

“Lighting the Way” according to the International Building and Fire Code

According to the latest codes of the International Building Code (IBC) as well as the International Fire Code (IFC) paths of egress (the way out) is now to be lighted with luminous in all “new and existing institutional, educational, business, hotel, public assembly and R-1 residential buildings having occupied floors that are located more than 75 feet above the lowest level of fire department access”. This includes all “doors, steps, landings, handrails, perimeter and obstacles.”

A quick look at many buildings is enough to notice that a big of upgrading is necessary in order to be compliant.

Check out the “Emergency Egress Marking Handbook” available through Brady to find out more about what might be needed at your location.

Call us at (800) 213-7092 for help acquiring the luminous signs and markings you need.

OSHA wants your input

One would think that with all the advances in fall protection technology and products, that the number of injuries and deaths would be decreasing. In fact, the opposite is true as evidenced in the text of a new proposed rule by OSHA that seeks to revamp the Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems).


Fatal Falls


Percentage of

Fatal falls from fatal falls that

Fatal falls height were falls from



1992-2004 (Average per Year)……………………… 300 213 71

2005…………………………………………… 320 257 80

2006…………………………………………… 343 285 83

2007…………………………………………… 357 267 75


At the heart of the proposed changes is

  • Standardization and consistency between different industries (maritime, construction, etc…)
  • Simpler language that makes it easier for everyone involved to understand and apply basic fall protection standards
  • “Easy-to-use” measures that would make compliance easier
  • A lot more

OSHA is looking for your input. Go to to have a look at the proposal, get more information, and guidelines about what OSHA is looking for. There are questions that they would like responses to that will help them get a better understanding from those who grapple with these issues on a daily basis.

The table of content on this massive proposal reads as follows:

Table of Contents


I. Background

II. Analysis of Risk

III. Issues

IV. Summary and Explanation of the Proposed Rule

V. Preliminary Economic and Initial Regulatory Flexibility Screening Analysis

VI. Applicability of Existing National Consensus Standards

VII. OMB Review Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

VIII. Federalism

IX. State Plan States

X. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

XI. Public Participation

XII. Authority and Signature

XIII. Proposed Regulatory Text


Logon and take this opportunity to help shape the rules that will make a difference far into the future.

The Safe Chemical Act of 2010

Do you know what your odds of being diagnosed with cancer are? What about your odds of dying of cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute 41% and 21% respectively. The question that immediately begs to be asked is “why so high?”

A lot of very credible research points to the roughly 80,000 chemicals that show up in pretty much everything around us. One would think that most, if not all, of these chemicals would have been tested and found to be safe before they were allowed to be used. One, however, would be wrong… very wrong! Of these 80,000 chemicals only about 23% of them have been tested to find out how safe they are. The rest (some 62,000) have no health information at all (See this article in the Baltimore Sun for more information).

A new legislation, the Safe Chemical Act of 2010, is looking to change this sad state of affairs, with a radical revamping of how chemicals are evaluated and analyzed for safety and health. It would also seek to phase out known carcinogens and other persistent, bio accumulative toxins (PBTs) like lead and mercury.

While I certainly applaud this new legislation and pray that we would have the courage and tenacity to do it right, one can only wonder how effective it will be will so much money backing these chemicals companies and those who use these chemicals. This doesn’t seem to me to be something that we can slowly work to resolve. It is already at a crisis point and each and everyone of us is going to be directly affected.

Ergonomic Tip of the Week # 21

If you have adjusted your chair and your back does not contact the back rest of the chair, consider getting a lumbar pad for the chair. A lumbar pad basically extends the back rest out so you can get proper back support.

The ergonomic tip of the day is provided by Ken Oswald at

Driving Simulator Shows Texting While Driving

Okay, I know, I’ve talked about this before but I came across a couple of online videos that show, through a driving simulator, what is happening (where the line of sight is) when someone tries to text while driving.

The Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts has made available several videos showing teenagers texting while driving in a driving simulator.

The videos are available at (click on the “Young Drivers” tab under “Our Research”)


If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a 2 minute video worth?

Lifting and Lowering Diagram

I came across this diagram in a British safety publication and, thinking this would be a good topic to discuss, I went looking for a US version.


I couldn’t find one and I’m not sure why. There are several similar versions of this image but they are all from British websites.

Meanwhile, it seems to me that the guidelines giving here are simple and easy to follow. For women, use 2/3 of the weight shown.

Rough equivalents are listed below:

  • 5 kg = 11 lbs
  • 10 kg = 22 lbs
  • 15 kg = 33 lbs
  • 25 kg = 55 lbs

If, while moving the load, you are going to take it through more than one of the zones, use the lowest value. This diagram assumes that the worker’s body is in a stable position, that he is using both hands and that the hands are no more than shoulder length apart.

Above this weight, an assessment needs to be made to prevent injury.

Okay, can anyone tell me why I couldn’t find anything like this in lbs on a US website?