Native America Calling is hosting AMERIND Risk representatives on its live call-in program on Monday, October 3, at 11 a.m. MST. The program engages guests in thought-provoking national conversations about issues specific to Native communities. AMERIND Risk will discuss the importance of workplace safety. Call 800-996-2848 (1-800-99-NATIVE) to pose questions to the experts at AMERIND.
The episode is a prelude to AMERIND Risk's more in-depth session, "Injury Prevention," promoting safe work environments and employee safety, to take place at its upcoming 2016 AMERIND Risk Institute, hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October 4 -5.
With more than half of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, AMERIND Risk, the nation’s only 100 percent, tribally owned insurance company, encourages both employees and businesses to embrace workplace safety and injury prevention measures.
Sprains and strains caused by poor posture, overly repetitive work routines, awkward motions while lifting and reaching, for example, are the leading causes of workplace injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These injuries can cost businesses a significant amount of money in lost productivity, workers compensation insurance and employee lost wages in some cases. But all injuries are preventable, said Tim Dorian, AMERIND Safety Specialist and former safety engineer for the Intel Corp.
“If you provide people with training and information, and explain to them, ‘OK, this is how you are getting hurt and these are the types of things we can do to prevent it from happening,’ they will be inspired to adopt safer, healthier work habits,” Dorian said. “It’s all around efforts of keeping you safe and keeping you healthy because at some point this not only affects you but your family as well if you are disabled or not able to work.”
Whether someone works in construction or at a desk, all types of occupations can be hazardous depending on two factors: the nature of the work you perform all day and how long you do it without variation or a rest break, according to Dorian.
“The universal message here is no matter what you do for a living, if you do enough of it without taking a break or proper posture, these sprains or strains will start to show up,” he said.
Dorian suggests the following to help ease pain or prevent injury in some common occupations:
• Construction—Try stretching and flexing exercises, particularly in the morning. This daily activity warms up muscles and helps prevent soft-tissue injuries. Instructional exercise charts can be accessed from the Internet and customized to your needs. Job rotation also helps so that someone is not using the same body parts hour after hour.
• Desk—Arrange your work so you can sit or stand comfortably in a position that doesn’t put stress on a specific area of your body. You should be able to keep your neck in a neutral position and minimize the need to look up or to the sides continuously while you’re working. Take 10- to 15-second breaks frequently. For example, look away from your computer monitor, stand up or stretch your arms. Short breaks reduce eyestrain and buildup of muscle tension.
• Warehouse or Heavy lifting—Practice and implement safety techniques, such as getting close to the load, keeping your back straight while lifting and lifting with your legs. Or get help or consider looking for mechanical means if the load is over 40 pounds or just too heavy.
For all workers, Dorian suggests stretch breaks or breaks in general, such as a walk around the office, to get blood flowing and stop repetitive motion. In addition, a simple shift of job routine to a different task will prevent chronic strain on the same muscles or tendons.
And above all else, promptly report all injuries to your supervisor, HR rep or company official because it enables early investigation of the causes and formulation of appropriate health and safety control measures. Prompt reporting can also ensure that immediate assistance can be administered, such as proper medical treatment or improvement techniques.
“With training, awareness and avoidance, employees will be informed and enabled to make safe, healthy choices,” Dorian said. “Preventing needless injuries will allow them to enjoy the rest of their life pain-free.”
Tips on preventing sprains and strains, and creating a safer workplace environment can be found on AMERIND’s website at www.AMERINDRisk.org, or by going to its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AMERINDRisk-157506987725744/. Or call AMERIND’s Safety Department at 800-352-3496.
About AMERIND Risk
AMERIND Risk was founded 30 years ago by more than 400 tribes who united and pooled their resources to create AMERIND Risk to keep money within Indian Country. AMERIND Risk provides employee benefits, and property, liability and workers compensation insurance for tribes, tribal governments, tribal businesses and individual property coverage. It is the only 100%, tribally-owned and operated insurance solutions provider in Indian Country. In May of 2016, AMERIND launched a new business line AMERIND Critical Infrastructure (ACI) which will help tribes obtain high-speed internet. To learn more about Tribes Protecting Tribes or for an insurance quote, go to AMERINDRisk.org.