What Does OSHA Say About Workplace Sanitation?

As we’ve discussed in our previous posts this month, the workplace is full of many health and safety hazards.  Because of this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was founded in 1971 to help ensure safe working conditions for all workers in the United States.  Under the OSHA standards, employees have the right to a sanitary work environment.   Sanitation refers to the practices that prevent workers from coming into contact with agents of disease, such as agricultural waste, industrial waste and wastewater.

Employers that fail to comply with sanitation standards may be subjects to a range of sanctions, including the administrative assessment of civil money penalties and or civil or criminal legal action.

Does Your Organization Comply with these
5 Key Sanitation Requirements under OSHA Regulation?

 

Housekeeping

All places of employment must be kept clean to the extent that the nature of the work allows. The floor of every workroom should be maintained, so far as practicable, in a dry condition. Anywhere wet processes are used, drainage must be maintained and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places should be provided, or appropriate waterproof footgear must be worn. Doors and passageways must be kept free from hazards such as protruding nails or loose boards.

Water Supply

The employer must provide portable water in the workplace as needed for cooking, drinking, and washing. Water dispensers must be designed so that they have a tap that is capable of being closed. Open containers such as barrels, pails, or tanks for drinking water from which the water must be dipped or poured are prohibited. Sources of non-potable water must clearly state that the water is unsafe for drinking.

Restroom and Washroom Facilities

Employers must provide toilets for employees according to the number and gender of workers. Urinals are only permitted in areas that don’t have female workers and separate facilities for each gender are not required when the toilet room can be locked from the inside.

OSHA also outlines the minimum number of restrooms the workplace must have according to the number of workers. For example, an area with no more than 15 workers only requires one restroom facility. A minimum of six facilities are required for up to 150 workers and one additional facility is needed for every 40 additional workers over that 150. Each restroom must occupy a separate compartment with a door and walls or partitions between fixtures sufficiently high to assure privacy.

All places of employment require lavatories unless they are staffed by mobile crews or if workers at those locations have transportation available to nearby lavatories that meet OSHA requirements. In workplaces that require showers, showers must be provided with hot and cold water feeding a common discharge line.

Waste Disposal

Employers must provide waste cans for the disposal of food. Permanent trash bins must be smooth, easily cleaned and resistant to corrosion. The receptacles must have a solid cover that fits tightly if needed to maintain sanitary conditions. OSHA does not specify the number and location of waste receptacles.

Food Storage

Food and beverages are not to be stored in areas exposed to toxic materials or in toilet facilities. Food must be handled and prepared carefully to protect it from contamination.
By following these steps and staying up to date with the latest OSHA regulations, you’ll provide a sanitary, productive workplace.

By following these steps and staying up to date with the latest OSHA regulations, you’ll provide a sanitary, productive workplace.

How Can All Team Staffing
Assist Your Hiring Initiatives?

Looking to hire additional staff for your organization? Let the experienced recruitment professionals at All Team Staffing help.  Since 1989, All Team has been providing employers with proven staffing solutions that help grow their business, reduce risk, and boost their bottom line.  Contact our expert recruiters today to see how we can provide the best talent for your organization.

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10 Steps to Making Your Office Safer for Employees

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing workplace safety and health hazards is usually work sites in industries such as manufacturing or construction that require workers to use heavy equipment and machinery.  However, contrary to popular belief, a climate-controlled office building where workers are typing away in cubicles is just as prone to accidents.  According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80,410 private-industry office and administrative workers suffered on-the-job injuries in the year 2008 alone.

Make Your Workplace Safer for Employees with these Tips

  1. Staying clutter free
    Slips and trips are the most common cause of office injury according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Employees are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from a disabling fall in an office setting than anywhere else. Therefore, it’s important to keep walkways free of boxes, files, and other items that may cause a tripping hazard.  Safely store these materials in a proper location so that they don’t clutter hallways. 
  2. Implementing a clear line of vision
    How many times have you turned a sharp corner at work and almost run smack into a coworker? Making turns in the hallway around blind corners or cubicle walls is another leading cause of office injury.  If this has been an issue in your office, consider installing convex mirrors at blind intersections to reduce accidents. If you can see that someone is coming around the corner, you’re much less likely to bump into them. 
  3. Shutting file cabinets
    Hit your shin on a file cabinet once or twice, and you’ll be well aware of the hazard open drawers present.   File cabinets with too many drawers extended all the way open are likely to tip over and could cause a painful crash if they’re not secured. 
  4. Providing adjustable equipment
    Because office staff spends most of the day sitting at a computer, they are prone to ergonomics related injuries like strains and bad posture. The best way to avoid these types of injuries is by offering adjustable office equipment.  Chairs, work surfaces, and monitor stands should be able to accommodate a wide range of employees. 
  5. Dimming the lights and using desk lamps
    Florescent lights in office buildings are often too strong for the average person’s vision.  According to the American Optometric Association, light about half of the normal office level light is optimal.  You can achieve this level of light by unscrewing some of the florescent bulbs to dim the light and using desk lamps when more light is needed. 
  6. Giving your eyes a break
    Although looking at a computer monitor does not damage your eyes, looking at it for an excessive amount of time can cause eyestrain.  Encourage employees to take a 5-minute break from the computer for every one hour they spend at it.  These breaks don’t have to mean employees stop working.  They can include working on tasks that require your eyes to focus on objects at a further range. 
  7. Inspecting cords
    Another leading cause of workplace hazards is damaged and ungrounded power cords.  These pose a fire hazard and violate safety codes.  Cords should be inspected regularly and thrown out if they have frayed edges ore wire showing. The most common cause of fires started by extension cords is linked to improper use and overloading. 
  8. Never blocking fire sprinklers
    In the event of an emergency, furniture and tall stacks of boxes can block fire sprinklers and reduce their effectiveness.  According to the Office of Compliance, nothing should be placed higher than 18 inches below a sprinkler head. 
  9. Conducting walkthroughs
    As a manager, you should routinely conduct walkthroughs of the office to help with hazard recognition.  This way you can identify and eliminate any potential hazards before they cause an injury. 
  10. Establishing employee reporting systems
    Establishing an employee reporting system can be the best way for management to get a handle on potential hazards before they cause accidents. Consider creating an anonymous reporting process that encourages workers to come forward with their concerns. Early intervention yields the most effective results.

By following these steps and staying in tune with workplace hazards, you will greatly reduce the risk of injury in your office.

Looking to hire additional staff for your organization?

Let the experienced team at All Team Staffing help.  Since 1989, All Team has been providing employers with proven staffing solutions that help grow their business, reduce risk, and boost their bottom line.  Contact our team of experienced recruiting specialists today to see how we can provide the best talent for your organization.

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Reducing Workplace Conflict | 3 Ways to Minimize Workplace Tension

As much as we’d all like to avoid it, conflict is present in every workplace.  In fact, managers spend about 25 percent of their time resolving workplace tension.  Reducing conflict is one of the biggest challenges managers and employees face, since many people would rather avoid issues than have to deal with confrontation.

However, because tension can cause lower workplace morale and decreased productivity, it should not simply be brushed under the rug.

3 Ways to Resolve Conflict Before You Face the Risk of Physical Altercations.

Resolve problems first-hand.
If you’re experiencing tension with an employee, try to deal with the problem directly before escalating to another supervisor.  Approach the staff member respectfully when other colleagues are not around.  Express your feelings, address your concerns, and let them know you’d like to resolve the conflict.  Bring the issues to the table without accusing or laying blame on them.  Not only will this help resolve the conflict quickly, it will keep from damaging your professional reputation and being seen as a tattletale.

Listen carefully.
Getting defensive and using verbal attacks to silence opponents won’t lead to favorable results or a lasting solution.  Instead, sit down with the employees experiencing conflict and try to understand both sides of the issue.  Make sure you acknowledge their feelings and repeat their opinion back to enhance your understanding.

In a tense situation, people are often so focused on making sure that everyone knows their viewpoint is the right one, that they don’t even listen to what the other person has to say.  This is known as us-versus-them mentality.  If you take a step back to listen to what the other person has to say, a good percentage of the time you’ll realize that you were both saying the same thing in a different way. Your ears are the best tools to eliminate tension.

Be willing to compromise.
It’s completely normal for employees to have different feelings and perspectives on situations within the workplace.  Stubbornness or holding a grudge won’t help anything.  Because you have to see and work with your colleagues everyday, it’s necessary to make compromises.  Meet in the middle in order to resolve the conflict.  Even if it this means giving up ground on some aspects of your argument, it demonstrates that you’re adult enough to not let emotion control your behavior.  

Agree on a resolution so there isn’t any leftover tension.  If there is, both parties are likely to become more tempted to get defensive and pick fights whenever they’re forced to interact.  Choose your battles wisely and enforce compromises on trivial matters, so everyone will get along better in the future.

If you follow these steps to reducing workplace tension, you’ll help keep office morale and productivity from decreasing and set a higher expectation for how confrontations should be handled.  You can turn conflict into an opportunity to gain constructive feedback for staff development.

Looking to hire additional staff to decrease stress and tension in the workplace?

Let the experienced team at All Team Staffing help.  Since 1989, All Team has been providing employers with proven staffing solutions that help grow their business, reduce risk, and boost their bottom line.  Contact us today to see how we can provide the best talent for your organization.

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Crafting a Job Description that Helps You Attract Top Talent

Looking to find the best employee for your organization? With the economy heating up, there is a lot of competition for top talent in the job market.  In order to attract the individuals you want, it’s essential to craft a standout job description.  Here are a few tips for writing job descriptions that will effectively communicate your available positions, job requirements, and necessary qualifications while grabbing the attention of the job seeker.

Details to include.
If you want the job seeker to take your post seriously, there are essential details that need to be included in your job description.  The job seeker is likely to move on to the next job post, if you don’t include all of the info they’re looking for.

  • Job Title & Summary—The job title should accurately reflect the work that the employee will do.  The title should not only reflect you industry’s standards, but your organizations culture as well.  After you’ve defined what the position is, write a summary of the purpose of the job and an overview of the main responsibilities.  Keep the summary concise and to the point by making it two to three sentences at the most.
  • Skills and Qualifications—List all of the mandatory qualifications the candidate must have.  These are the non-negotiables and should include skills, years of experience, certifications, licenses, and education requirements. Then, list preferred skills that you would like the candidate to have but aren’t absolutely necessary.
  • Location and Type of Employment—Be sure to clearly identify where the position is located.  If travel is required for the position, note the percentage of time and to where the employee will be traveling.  Also be sure to state whether the position is full-time, part-time, salaried, or contract.  If the position is an internship, be sure to note whether it is paid or unpaid.  You want to be sure the applicant knows all of these things before applying, so that you don’t waste their time or yours over mismatching expectations later on in the interview process.  If your company doesn’t have policies against it, include details about salary range and benefits in the job description as well.
  • Contact Information—Don’t be one of the many job postings on the web that doesn’t include recruiter contact information.  You want potential candidates to be able to ask questions and make it easy for them to apply for the job.  The top talent isn’t going to apply if your posting looks like it’s trying to be secretive or unprofessional.  Skilled job candidates won’t waste their time playing the games of online job hunting.                                                                                                                                    

How to make your post stand out.
The perfect job description is neither overly detailed nor too vague, and uses clear language to represent the culture of the company.  Here are a few formatting tips that will make your job descriptions grab the attention of the reader.

  • Be specific and use direct language.  While brevity is appreciated in job postings, it’s also important to be as specific and transparent as possible.  If your description is too vague, applicants won’t be able to imagine themselves in the role and accurately determine whether or not they’re qualified for the job.  Keep from using fuzzy descriptors such as sometimes or frequently when describing job functions.  Instead, organize responsibilities by percentage or time or hours.
  • Use bullet points where appropriate.  Using bullet points makes you job description easier to read through.  A candidate should be able to easily skim through job responsibilities and skill requirements to determine whether they meet the qualifications for the job.
  • Embody the organization’s personality.  When writing the job description, choose a tone and voice that match your company’s culture.  For example, a startup company is likely to have a more creative, silly, attention grabbing job description, than a company with a very strict corporate culture.  Getting your company’s personality across in the job description will ensure you’re only attracting people who are the right cultural fit for your organization.

Still having trouble attracting the right employees even with a detailed job description?

Let the experienced team at All Team Staffing help.  Since 1989, All Team has been providing employers with proven staffing solutions that help grow their business, reduce risk, and boost their bottom line.  Contact us today to see how we can provide the best talent for your organization.

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