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Each year scores of Laborers are injured because safety measures were either ignored or improperly followed.

Always remember to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job. When there is movement overhead you need to wear a hard hat. Work boots, safety glasses, and vests are typically required and, depending on noise levels, hearing protection may be necessary. Fall protection is required whenever working at heights of 6 feet or greater (10 feet on scaffolds) and be sure to use respiratory protection when working around toxic dust or chemicals. Other hazards include electrical, slips, trips, and musculoskeletal injuries.

Laborers employed in highway work zones face hazards that include motor vehicles speeding by at 55 to 75 miles-per-hour, just inches from their work space. But let’s not forget that workers are at equal risk for being struck by construction vehicles and equipment in the work zone. This is particularly applicable to Laborers because so much of our work is on foot. Be aware of “blind-spots” behind construction vehicles and always wear high-visibility apparel. Take precautions when working around excavators and backhoe loaders and be knowledgeable of the necessary measures needed to avoid excavation hazards and cave-ins. Remember, the same rules apply for maintenance and utility work zones.


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Out with the old and in with the new!

If you’re determined this year to quit smoking, lose weight, or start an exercise program, you’ll have to do more than make a wish. More people make health resolutions on January 1 than at any other time of the year. Unfortunately, in spite of good intentions, it’s just as common for those resolutions to melt away like snow in April. Before you start down the road of good intentions, you’ll want a map and a plan.

 Setting goals is the best strategy for making changes in health habits. The steps are always the same, no matter what you want to change, so once you have mastered the guidelines, you can apply them to any behavior.

1)      Set a specific goal. Instead of saying “I will eat better,” set a goal that can be measured, such as “I will eat five fruits and vegetables each day,” or “I will take a 30 minute walk each day at lunchtime.”

2)      Be realistic. “I will work out at the gym for an hour every day,” may be a set up for failure. Start off with smaller steps and build up to a bigger goal. For example, working out three days a week may fit into your busy schedule and allow you to build your body gradually to avoid injury. You can always add more workouts as you progress.

3)      Be flexible. A slip-up doesn’t have to be a major fall. Just because you ate a pint of ice cream or snuck a cigarette in a moment of stress, it doesn’t mean you have to throw it all away. Expect setbacks! Forgive yourself and get back on track with your goal.

 If you have a friend or family member to support you, you are more likely to succeed. Having a support system can make the difference when the going gets rough. Just be sure to tell people exactly what you need from them to help you reach your goal. And lastly, write your goals and post them on the refrigerator or in a journal. There is no better way to keep track of your progress



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