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Mike Means Business

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by Mike DePue

According to its Web page, the mission of the National Safety Council is "to educate and influence society to adopt safety, health and environmental policies, practices and procedures that prevent and mitigate human suffering and economic losses arising from preventable causes."

You'll notice that alleviating human suffering, while a lofty and important goal, is only part of the occupational safety equation. As businesspeople, we have to recognize that preventing economic losses due to accidents in the workplace is part of our bottom line.

But, oh, what a tangled web those Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations weave. How can we, as small-business owners, know we are following the most current federal directives?

Are there new studies to help us keep our employees safe? What about products and software to make our workstations less hazardous, how do we decide which ones work? To help untangle this and other information on workplace safety, we can turn to another web, the World Wide Web, where sites abound on just this topic.

You can find sites like these, and other business-related Web pages at

the Springfield-Greene County Library business reference pages.

Take advantage of Yahoo's classified search strategy and annotations to gather a greater variety of informational approaches than you probably could have thought up on your own.

Material safety data sheets, substance abuse, computer-related health hazards and much more. Everything from the NIOSH-revised lifting equation to insurance company runarounds!

Why start from scratch when somebody else already has endured the committee meetings and rewrites? Seattle Pacific University offers examples of a safety and health policy statement, a hazard communication program, accident prevention, reporting and investigation techniques, and other policies, procedures and protocols that you can consider and adapt.

Search engines such as HotBot

or MetaCrawler

will find you plenty of alternatives.

The National Safety Council protects people in the workplace, at home, on the road and even crossing the street. Founded in 1913, the NSC has more than 18,000 members from industry, health and safety professions, businesses, universities and community organizations.

Under "Job Safety & Health" on its Web site, you'll find software demos to download, a product locator, farm safety and much more. This site is updated often, so you may want to bookmark it and visit periodically.

The Kentucky Safety and Health Network provides an unannotated but selective list of major domestic and international Web resources that are specific to the workplace. Among the varied offerings are a tutorial on trench safety for contractors and the University of Virginia's video display ergonomics page. Be sure to try ErgoWeb, a major player in ergonomics info, with special emphasis on office hazards and prevention and treatment.

Some of the most common repetitive strain injuries are caused by deficient typing techniques and equipment placement. Learn about the best and worst furniture and seating, workstations, mice and accessories, as well as split, contoured and chording keyboards. RSI-fighting software ranges from timers to remind us to take a break, to networked software to provide training across a whole corporation.

Of special interest is the listing of speech recognition systems and related topics; many people are coming to believe that "speech recog" will be the best way to prevent this type of injury.

Usernomics is a good starting point for material on health, safety and environment, including biomechanics. Its annotations are evaluative and succinct. If you're into vicarious suffering, you'll probably enjoy the safety-related cartoon link!

This site has a lot of in-the-trenches info on computer related repetitive strain injury from someone who has been afflicted. Find out exactly what it is, what it can lead to and how to prevent it. There is plenty of practical information on strain-reducing products and a section on the special situations that musicians face.

(Mike DePue is the business librarian at the Main Library, 397 E. Central. For almost 18 years, he has answered thousands of questions on as many topics.)


Be sure to try ErgoWeb, a major player in ergonomics info, with special emphasis on office hazards.[[In-content Ad]]


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