5 Activities for National Safety Month
The top activities for engaging employees during National Safety Month include:
Set a company goal for AED/CPR training: Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a stoppage of the heart, causes an estimated 15 percent of workplace deaths. Employees who are well-trained in both CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) use will be fully prepared to respond when SCA occurs. Set a company-wide goal to get a large percentage of workers certified and recognize those individuals who participate in the program by hosting a lunch or picnic. Enlist the help of a training provider and American Heart Association (AHA)-certified instructors to highlight proper AED use and CPR technique.
Fit employees for PPE: Since PPE is only fully effective when it fits correctly, and employees are more likely to wear it when it fits, National Safety Month events are a great opportunity to size employees for gloves, eyewear, hearing protection and protective apparel. PPE that fits properly will not inhibit movement or comfort, but will be tight enough to protect employees during daily activities. Set up fitting stations with several sizes and have a representative on duty who can maintain a log of employees’ sizes to make future ordering easier.
Host a safety contest: To keep employees focused and enthusiastic about safety, use contests and trivia to test employee knowledge about correct safety practices. For example, use an “identify what’s wrong with this picture” contest and have employees submit answers for prizes. To maintain engagement over time, launch a recognition program that rewards certain departments or individuals who have shown an exemplary dedication to workplace safety.
Test fire extinguisher skills: Pick a vendor that can be on-site during safety events to train employees on proper fire extinguisher technique using a fire simulator. Then, test employees’ knowledge with oral quizzes and online training courses. In addition, make sure employees know where all extinguishers and exits are located throughout the facility so they can be fully prepared if a fire occurs.
Teach emergency response: A common misconception is that employees know how to properly respond in the event of an emergency. Use safety awareness events to teach employees proper response including evacuation protocol, first-aid techniques and how to call for help during an emergency. Assign stand-out employees to emergency response teams that can correctly handle chemical spills, fires, natural disasters and SCA.
The 15 Best Picnic Spots in Alabama
Summer is almost here, so we’re taking this blog post out of the office! Do you have a favorite picnic spot in Alabama?
The Black Warrior Riverwalk is perfect for a stroll along the water under shady greens and a picnic. The walkways have several pavilion spots for you to stop and have lunch, and are a short way away from docks meant for fishing.
If you love hiking, the Monte Sano State Park is the place for you. With fresh air and mineral springs to excite any outdoorsman, the parks trails lead to several different picnic areas for your lunching needs.
3. Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Birmingham, AL
What could be a more beautiful picnic site than to be surrounded by endless flowers of different colors, hues, and shades?
A trip to Noccalula Falls is a trip worthwhile for the whole family. With beautiful sites, numerous trails, and a swimming pool, your day can be topped off by sitting one of their many pavilions for an enjoyable picnic.
A short drive from Tuscaloosa, Lake Lurleen is a scenic location for a day of swimming and picnicking.
Gulf State Park is two miles of beach and waves; the perfect location for swimming and sunning. Make it an all-day event for the family by suiting up with an umbrella, sunscreen, and a picnic basket.
With its many beautiful outdoor facilities, Muscle Shoals Recreation center has a number of quaint locations for a family picnic.
Enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Huntsville from this spacious downtown park. The grassy, well-kept location has many shady areas to sit, relax, and enjoy a meal. The koi pond is a must see for families with kids.
If your searching for an event-filled day of family fun, the Riverfront Park is your destination. With riverboat rides and a baseball diamond, you’ll have the whole day to spend outside. The park includes several pavilions for your lunching requirements.
For a more romantic picnic spot for two, check out the intimate setting of Bienville Square. The fountain at the squares center is a great location to sit with your loved one and have lunch under the greenery.
For a more adventurous spot for a picnic, try Cathedral Caverns State Park. You can explore the caverns many wonders and top off your day with a picnic at one of their several pavilions.
This mystical park provides many hiking trails and picnic spots for a day in the great outdoors. A highlight of this spot is the gorgeous waterfall at the end of the trail.
McFarland State Park is not only a stellar location for camping, but a great park for a day outside. The park hosts a number of picnic areas for a break between the day’s activities.
There is nothing like the breathtaking views of the Tennessee River. Sand Mountain is the perfect spot for such a sight.
15. Vulcan Park, Birmingham, AL
Sitting atop Birmingham’s most scenic location, Vulcan Park is a picnic spot that provides a panoramic view of the city. The picnic area is near the famous Vulcan statue, representing the cities rich industrial history.
9 Simple Productivity Tips for the Office
Sometimes all it takes to improve your focus is a few quick changes to your work habits and your environment. Here are 9 simple, low-tech tips for boosting your productivity at work:
Streamline your space: Before you do anything else, take a few moments at the start of each day to organize and de-clutter your workspace. Having a clutter-free environment helps you think more clearly and produce better results.
Add pops of color or live plants: Color can have a major effect on your mood and productivity throughout the day. Blue creates the feeling of calmness and helps you focus, red is great for work that requires accuracy and attention to detail. Plants can also help people focus: workers who were exposed to plants in a windowless workspace were less stressed , more productive, and felt more attentive.
Write down your daily goals: It’s not always easy to keep track of everything you need to do, so start each morning by writing down your goals for the day.
Turn off your email notifications: It takes 64 seconds for a person to recover from being interrupted by an email notification. Instead of reading email as it lands in your inbox, try turning off your notifications and checking messages at set intervals. Constant email alerts popping up on your phone or desktop can really break your focus. You can send and receive the same amount of emails in 20 percent less time by checking your email less frequently.
Take short breaks: Whether it’s a walk to the breakroom for a coffee, reading a magazine or visiting with a colleague, taking short breaks that are unrelated to your work can make a huge difference in your performance.
Move Around: Exercise isn’t just good for your body – it can help have a positive impact on your work performance too. Physical exercise has been shown to affect mental health and focus. Try starting your day with a workout, or try interval standing with a sit-stand desk. It can’t hurt to try to sneak in some exercise on your breaks either.
Listen to music: Wearing headphones doesn’t always mean you’re antisocial. When working, listening to your favorite tunes can help you get into the zone and knock out your to-do list.
Decorate your workspace: A few personal knickknacks in your workspace can make you feel more comfortable and relaxed, which can ultimately boost your productivity. Try adding meaningful career memorabilia, such as diplomas and awards, and other decorative items that make you feel successful, appreciated and driven.
Stop trying to multitask: Doing more than one thing at a time may seem like the best way to get all of your tasks done, but it can hurt your productivity more than it can help. Multitasking simply doesn’t work, and you do, you end up wasting time.
article via: businessnewsdaily.com
11 Spring Cleaning Tips for the Office
Start this season with a fresh workspace with our favorite 11 spring cleaning tips:
1. Your computer’s desktop – Delete unnecessary files and sort needed materials into well-labeled folders. Be sure each document or photo is labeled in a way that makes it easy to search and know what’s inside.
2. Your supply drawer – Purchase drawer organizers to sort paper clips, pens, staples and other office supplies in neat, easy-to-grab areas. Throw out any writing utensils that don’t work.
3. Your filing cabinet – Toss all unnecessary files and create a clean, organized filing system for all of your important documents. Consider color-coding files for certain tasks as well.
4. Your phone – Your desk phone is likely the germiest place in your office. Take a sanitizing wipe and clean off the buttons and receiver. Make a note to do this every two weeks.
5. Your binders – Three-ring binders are perfect for storing information like process documents or reporting. Keep a three-hole punch in a top desk drawer or within arm’s reach so you can punch and file documents as they come in.
6. Your inbox – There are so many employees out there that use a single inbox and just let everything pile up. Create virtual file folders for different projects and tasks to keep important information organized and easy to find. When you get new emails, determine right after reading it whether it needs to be sorted, deleted or flagged for follow-up.
7. Your keyboard – Another other often-overlooked area of the office is your keyboard and mouse. Remove loose debris, then use a sanitizing wipe or cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface of the keyboard. Try compressed air if you really need to get in between the keys.
8. Your papers – Everything should have a home, and that home is not in a miscellaneous pile on your desk. Shred it or file it away.
9. Your decor – That photo of your kids from two years ago or the December 2013 calendar page needs to go. Refresh the walls of your office with current photos, inspirational quotes and anything else that will help keep you on track and make the space yours.
10. The fridge – There is no way all of the condiments on the door are still good, and the odds are that there is more than one box of leftovers hiding in the back. Post a note on the fridge advertising clean out days; if the day comes and food isn’t clearly labeled with a name and date, toss it.
11. The coffeemaker – As one of the dirtiest places in the entire office, give this machine a little extra TLC. A thorough wash of both the pot and machine are needed. Keep a set of wipes on the break room counter to remind people to wipe it down throughout the day.
Your office cleaning crew should take care of the rest, but take extra responsibility for the personal and shared spaces you use on a day-to-day basis. Remember that a cluttered, messy workspace can cause added an unnecessary stress. Stay organized and set weekly and monthly reminders to organize and clean your desk area.
article via: totalwellnesshealth.com
Becoming the First Female Forester at Hammermill
In honor of Women’s History month, we spoke with Brenda Heindl, one of the first female foresters at Hammermill Paper Company, which was acquired by International Paper in 1986. Brenda told us her inspiring story of finding a career that would take her to forestlands across the US, as well as Canada and Russia. She became the first and only woman forester that Hammermill Southern Operations has ever had. Brenda shares her advice for women interested in forestry, and her knowledge on forest conservation.
What sparked your interest in becoming a forester?
Honestly, when I was finishing high school I had never heard of a forester. My HS college counselor – Ms. PK Faye – suggested I might like forestry. When I asked her, “What do foresters do” she told me, “They sit in fire towers.” To this day, I have never set foot in a fire tower.
Growing up in Virginia, I liked being outside – I rode horses and spent a lot of time at the farm, working with the horses, helping teach riding lessons, also swimming in the South Anna River and wandering through the woods either on foot or horseback. Growing up, I also liked math and science, which are both used a lot in the forestry field. In college at Virginia Tech I even took two quarters of organic chemistry as electives!
When I was in college I co-oped with the US Army Corps of Engineers as a forestry technician and this gave me a good feel for what was really involved in being a forester. I really enjoyed the work and so I continued to major in forest resource management and wildlife management at Virginia Tech.
When I was senior at Virginia Tech, four professors took about 15 students on a Spring Break trip to visit forest industry companies in the deep South (Alabama and Georgia) – Georgia Kraft (now IP Rome, GA), Union Camp (now IP Prattville, AL), Container Corp, MacMillan Bloedel (now IP Pine Hill, AL), and Kimberly-Clark. That trip resulted in me learning that Hammermill was hiring.
Describe why you enjoyed being a forester.
I had an opportunity to do such a variety of things and to see forestland across the United States, Canada and even Russia all under the umbrella of work and get paid for it! I told one of my first bosses I could not believe I was getting paid to do this and he said he could probably make some other arrangements.
I cruised timber, marked timber, bid on timber, managed thousands of acres of land, worked with loggers and other contractors, worked with non-industrial landowners to manage their lands, trapped beaver, drove a tractor, planted trees, sold tree seedlings, and sold utility poles.
I also enjoyed the variety of people I had the opportunity to meet and work with, either as International Paper co-workers, contractors, customers or fellow foresters working for other companies, or trade association folks.
How do foresters conserve forests?
First, it is important to make the distinction between preservation and conservation. People often confuse the two. Both terms involve a degree of protection, but how that protection is carried out is the key difference. Conservation is the sustainable use and management of natural resources including wildlife, water, air, and earth deposits to benefit people. The conservation of renewable resources like trees involves ensuring that they are not consumed faster than they can be replaced. Preservation, in contrast to conservation, attempts to maintain natural resources in their present condition by excluding management and any human activity.
Foresters conserve forests by using and managing forests while keeping forests healthy. If we do not have demand and use of paper and wood products there is no need for people to grow trees and have forests. It is just like if people stopped eating beef – no one would raise cows anymore. Typically, the way we lose forests is not due to forest industry activity but a result of agriculture and development. If the forest industry owns land they may cut the timber from time to time but they will keep that land growing trees so they have wood fiber to make their products.
What is your best advice for a woman who is interested in becoming a forester?
Go for it – you can do whatever you put your mind and heart into! Get on-the-job experience. Be open-minded and willing to work hard.
What is one aspect of forestry that you would like women to know about?
People need to know that there is a lot more to being a forester than you think. As I mentioned, when I was finishing high school, my high school college counselor suggested forestry as a major, and all she knew about forestry was that foresters sat in fire towers, or so she thought. If you are lucky enough to work for a company like International Paper, your forestry background can lead you to quite a variety of jobs – just about anything you want to do from forestry to finance to sales to logistics to IT and on and on.
article via: hammermill.com
Strickland Companies: AOPD Dealer of the Year
Strickland Companies was awarded AOPD Dealer of the Year in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 21st. Strickland holds a number of AOPD contract accounts and services AOPD accounts throughout the country. Accepting the award in Arizona, General Manager Kim Vogel, has been the leader of Strickland’s AOPD efforts.
AOPD is the world’s largest distribution network of office supplies and is comprised of 74 dealers in 180 locations in the US, Canada and Australia.
Survey Says: Work Life Improvement Items
We asked 300 customers, “What items have made your life at work easier or more pleasant?”
Here are the top 13 answers:
15 Office Holiday Party Etiquette Tips
Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
‘Tis the season for office holiday parties, which can be fun and festive if everyone is on their best behavior — or disastrous when too many people decide to let loose.
Unfortunately, the latter happens far too often.
“People need to remember that although the holiday party is a time to celebrate, this activity is still a business event and how you behave matters,” says Barbara Pachter, an etiquette expert and the author of “The Essentials of Business Etiquette.”
“People have said and done all sorts of inappropriate things that have impacted their career by not following simple etiquette rules,” she adds. “For example, it is important to stay sober. One young man got drunk at his holiday party, cursed out his boss, and got fired on the spot. The next day he couldn’t understand why his badge didn’t work. He had no recollection of the previous evening’s events.”
According to a new CareerBuilder survey, a whopping 69% of employers say they’ll throw a holiday party this year. If your company is one of them and you want to keep your job and reputation intact, here are some simple etiquette rules to follow:
Don’t skip it
Unless you already have other plans that night that you absolutely cannot miss or change, show up to the office holiday party.
“You may not want to go,” says Pachter, but it’s important that you show your commitment to the company.
“Your absence will be noticed, and most likely, noted by your boss and other higher ups,” she adds.
Don’t be the first to leave
Obviously someone has to be the first to leave. But for the same reason that you shouldn’t skip the holiday party altogether — it’s good for your career to show your face — you should avoid being the first one saying their goodbyes.
Don’t dress inappropriately
The party may not take place during traditional work hours — but that doesn’t mean you should dress like you’re going to a nightclub.
You should wear clothing you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear to work, but, since it’s a special occasion, it’s fine to take it up one notch — just don’t go over the top.
“It is a party, but your attire needs to be suitable for a business event, not a nightclub. Don’t wear anything that is too short, too tight, too low, or too anything,” advises Pachter.
Also, if you normally wear a suit to work, don’t show up to the office party in jeans and a T-shirt — or a Hello Kitty onesie.
Don’t forget to prepare your guest or significant other
Many times significant others are included or you’re allowed to bring a guest.
Let them know about appropriate dress and topics of conversation to stay away from, says Pachter. Also, make sure your guest follows all the rules: “His or her behavior will reflect on you.”
Don’t be antisocial
Even if you despise your coworkers — hopefully you don’t, but if you do, it might be time to assess your situation — or if you’re new and don’t know many people, don’t sit in a corner alone or keep your eyes glued to your phone the whole night.
“Schmooze,” Pachter suggests. “Talk to people you know and don’t know. The party is an opportunity to meet people. Don’t spend your time tweeting or texting. Make sure you mingle.”
Don’t look bored
Watch your body language. Appearing bored or like you’d rather be anywhere else is just as bad as not showing up.
“Don’t frown, slouch, cross arms, or yawn. You never know who might be observing you,” she says.
Don’t get drunk
This is an important rule — yet so many people fail to follow it.
“You don’t have to drink, but if you do, stay sober,” says Pachter. “It’s easy to do something outrageous when you have had too much to drink.”
She suggests setting a limit for yourself before going to the party and sticking to it. “It is much easier to limit your intake that way,” she says. “Or, order a drink you don’t like and sip it slowly all night.”
Don’t forget to eat
Sometimes employees skip the food and head straight to the bar because they’re excited to drink with their colleagues, or they assume the catered hors d’oeuvres aren’t worth the calories.
If you do decide to drink alcohol — even if you limit yourself to one glass or two glasses of wine — it’s important that you eat something.
Don’t gossip or bad mouth your colleagues
When you speak to colleagues, keep the conversation upbeat and positive.
Complaining about the company or your boss will bring the mood down, and gossiping about coworkers can get you into trouble.
It’s easy to do all of the above when you’ve been drinking — so be careful.
Don’t drone on about work
While maybe your holiday party takes place at the office this year, and at the very least it involves a bunch of people you work with, it’s the last place you should be talking shop.
Save your project updates for the Monday meeting.
Don’t go in without a plan
A good way to avoid defaulting to gossip or work talk is having a “talking plan.” As Voltaire said, “One always speaks badly when one has nothing to say.”
If you’re hoping to chat with a new coworker, think of a few icebreaker questions you can ask.
Did you decide ahead of time not to drink? Know what you want to say when people ask you “Why not?” Or perhaps you’re planning to chat with the CEO. Think of a few smart conversation starters.
“Don’t just talk business. Be up-to-date on current events and happenings in your community. Read the newspaper, your online news sites, news magazines, company publications, and your professional journals,” Pachter says.
This is not the time to hit on your boss, or his spouse.
Sometimes liquid courage gets the best of us — so stay away from alcohol if you don’t think you can control yourself while under the influence.
Don’t make a fool of yourself
Some people forget that the office holiday party is a work-related event and completely cut loose.
It’s OK to have fun and celebrate the season — but use your head and think about the consequences of your actions.
Hot sauce shooting contests are inadvisable. And maybe save your saucy rendition of “Santa, Baby” for karaoke with friends — or just your significant other.
Don’t post photos or comments that could get you in trouble
Avoid posting negative comments to social media about how “lame” the party was, or how much the food “sucked.” Also, do not post photos of your colleagues taking shots or engaging in other inappropriate behavior.
Don’t forget to acknowledge those who planned the party
Make sure you say “goodbye” and “thank you” to the host or party organizers, says Pachter.
If you’re not sure who was involved, or you don’t see them at the party, follow up with an email the next day.
Article Via: BusinessInsider.com
22 Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes
Even if your workplace is cool with Halloween costumes, it can become a little tricky to find something totally work-appropriate. A face full of fake blood or dressed head-to-toe as a wedge of cheese might be sort of distracting at that 3pm board meeting. If you’re struggling to come up with a Halloween idea that’s both creative and SFW, these costumes are sure to do the trick.
1. Vampire: Forget the gory makeup and blood capsules — all you need is a large cape, widow’s peak, teeth and some black lipstick. (via Brit + Co)
2. Bat: Keeping the costume minimal for the workplace is always a good idea. They’re probably still expecting you to get stuff done, after all. All this costume calls for is an all-black ensemble with a sewn-in cape. (via Again We Say Rejoice)
3. Aquarium: Hey, moms-to-be, get a little creative this year and head to the office as an aquarium. The costume itself is super easy to make, so you can get back to the important things, like, you know, growing a tiny human. (via Brit + Co)
4. Awkward School Photo: Halloween doesn’t fall on a #TBT this year, but you can still take a stroll down awkward memory lane as a throwback version of yourself. (via Jessica Hische)
6. Cruella de Vil: Channel this classic Disney villain with an oversized coat, red vintage flats and some seriously wicked eye makeup. (via @101dal__)
7. Catwoman: This HR-approved ensemble is tame but fierce. Okay, maybe (definitely) leave the whip at home. (via Brit + Co)
8. Ice Cream Cone: Head to the thrift store for a white dress (think: lots of tulle), add the sprinkles and a cone hat and voila! This is kind of the cutest costume ever, and it’s totally perfect for the office. (via Treasures and Travels)
9. Purrfect Black Cat: Cats are always a safe option for the workplace, and this costume is way better than just a couple of painted on whiskers and a tail. Pick your favorite statement necklace and jazz up this Halloween costume staple. (via Brit + Co)
10. Kate Middleton: This spot-on interpretation of Princess Kate is a great choice for the workplace. And there are tons of A+ Princess Kate looks to inspire. (via @awesomejaymee)
11. Pink Sugar Cookie: If you haven’t tried these sugary angels yet, you’d better head to the store ASAP. They’re totally worthy of their own (office-safe) Halloween costume. (via A Joyful Riot)
12. Dorothy, The Wizard Of Oz: If you have a pet-friendly office, we highly encourage you to bring your own Toto to work. (via The Joy Of Fashion)
13. Mary-Kate and Ashley: These costumes call for a serious dive into your local vintage store. (via Brit + Co)
14. Mime: This Halloween, put your striped shirt and black denim to good use. The best part? You have an excuse not to talk to that co-worker who you kind of can’t stand. (via Brit + Co)
15. Queen Of Hearts: This makeup look calls for items that are probably already in your makeup bag. Just grab a deck of playing cards and get snipping! (via Brit + Co)
16. Hamburglar: With this costume, you’ll definitely be asked to head out on the office takeout run for lunch. (via What I Wore)
17. Rosie the Riveter: This timeless tough girl always makes for a great costume. (via Brit + Co)
18. Fred Flinstone: Just put some shoes on, please.
19. Bill Lumbergh: Yeah, that’d be great.
20. Where’s Waldo: Perfect for hipster Tim in IT.
21. Forrest Gump
22. Wayne’s World
What will you be for Office Halloween? Share your pictures with us on our Facebook Page.
Real Men Wear Pink
Our Commander in Paper, BT Tynes, and his two brothers have joined a group of dedicated and distinguished community leaders who are determined to raise awareness and funds to support the American Cancer Society in saving lives from breast cancer. By being candidates of the Real Men Wear Pink campaign here in Birmingham, the Tynes are making a meaningful impact on a cause that touches us all and having some fun while doing it.
Three Brothers Don Pink to Support Their Sister
From left, Ingram, Bayard and Norman Tynes.
Cary Wahlheim was able to win her battle against breast cancer with the support of doctors, procedures and her three big brothers.
Norman, Bayard and Ingram Tynes are all participants in this year’s Real Men Wear Pink campaign.
“Cary is the fourth child with three older brothers,” Norman Tynes said, “We all flocked to her. We are a close-knit family.”
According to Tynes, Wahlheim’s cancer was caught early enough that after a radical procedure, she hasn’t needed further treatment. But he knows this isn’t always the case and he wants to help change that.
“Once you are affected by it, you wake up and realize how prevalent it is,” he said, “We’ve just got to find a way to make it less prevalent.”
That’s why, along with his brothers, Tynes will don a little bit of pink every day in October.
“We’ve been buying up pink stuff and T-shirts. We are really trying to spread the word by talking with friends, family and colleagues,” he said.
Tynes wants to raise as much money as he can for the American Cancer Society, an organization he trusts and admires.
“Their persistence and high profile in our community with galas and the golf tournament is impressive,” he said, “They are great at explaining how the money is spent and I think they appoint the dollars appropriately toward beating the disease.”
The Real Men Wear Pink campaign is directed at engaging men in the breast cancer fight, but Tynes is invested in fighting many types of cancer, cancers other relatives have battled such as prostate and ovarian cancer.
While he said he isn’t one to work just for a trophy, Tynes said he plans to have fun raising money and looks forward to some friendly competition.
article via: Sarah Kuper, Over the Mountain Journal
You can support the Tynes’ Real Men Wear Pink effort by visiting www.realmenbham.com to make a donation or by sharing this blog post with the hashtag #RealMenBham.