Safety Tip of the Week: Proper keyboarding tips

Keyboard close-up with red and white "Caution" cone resting on the keyboard

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about proper keyboarding tips.

Good keyboarding posture is just a few steps away. Follow these tips to reduce potential for injury:

  • Feet and Legs
    Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Avoid tucking your legs beneath you or extending them forward. Stretch often.
  • Arms
    Adjust your chair and keyboard height so your elbows are at a 90-degree angle and your arms are close to your sides. Your arms should hang in a relaxed manner. If your shoulders hunched forward you may need to raise your chair height or lower your keyboard.
  • Wrists and Hands
    Keep wrists straight and fingers curved over the keys, with thumbs hanging near the spacebar. Your wrists should be above and parallel to the keyboard. Avoid the temptation to rest your wrists on the wrist pad. Use the wrist pad for times between typing and resting.
  • Head
    Keep your eyes focused on the copy you are typing. If you find yourself turning your head back and forth from copy to screen, work on improving your touch typing skills. Adjust the position of the copy so you can see it without tilting your head excessively. Holding your head in one position can cause stress to your neck.

There are three types of low force used while working on the computer which when repeated over long periods can be hazardous to your physical health such as carpal tunnel, sprains and strains. These types or forces are defined as:

  • Dynamic force is force exerted through repetitive movements, such as pressing hard on keys or clicking the mouse button.
  • Static force is for holding the mouse or cradling the phone while typing.
  • Contact force is a low force that results from resting your wrists on the edge of your desk as you type.

Safety Tip of the Week: Paper cutter safety

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about paper cutter safety.

Paper cutter sitting on tabletop with no guard

Save your fingers!

Paper cutter safety is imperative to prevent dangerous lacerations or the accidental amputation of fingers and limbs. Technology has made it possible to design cutters with safety features to protect from accidental injuries. Replacement of older guillotine-style paper cutters with more modern equipment is important.

Please be sure all paper cutters in your department have a guard like the one seen here:

Paper cutting with guard on tabletop

Paper Trimmer – How to use

  • Trimmer should be on a stable, flat surface.
  • Safety latch should be on when trimmer is not in use.
  • When cutting, keep hands and fingers behind the guard rail and clear of the cutting blade at all times.
  • Maximum of 15 sheets of paper.
  • When finished, always place the cutting handle in the down position and secure the safety latch.


  • For adult use only.
  • Do not remove the guard rail .
  • Do not carry the trimmer by the cutting handle or blade.
  • Keep loose fitting clothing away from cutting blade.

Safety Tip of the Week: Take preventative actions to fight the flu


Hands covered with suds in sink demonstrating washing of hands

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about preventative actions to fight the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges the public to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu). In addition to a recommended yearly flu vaccine, the CDC recommends:

Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Visit CDC’s website to find out what to do if you get sick with the flu.

Safety Tip of the Week: Don’t take your hands for granted!

One pair of scissors opened as if laying on a table

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about hand safety in the workplace.

Can you imagine not being able to work with your hands? Hand injuries can vary from minor cuts or irritation to more serious complications.

Well over a million hand injuries occur reach year, and 20 percent of disabling workplace injuries involve the hands. Some injury types are:

  1. Lacerations (Paper cutters, scissors) 63%
  2. Crush (Doors) 13%
  3. Avulsion 8%
  4. Puncture (Bites, staplers) 6%
  5. Fracture (Falls) 5%
  6. Repetitive Stress 5%

It is generally accepted in heavy industry that workers will find dangerous work environments that expose employees to potential injury. But it is important to recognize the potential risks found in everyday classroom and office environments. These environments can also lead to injuries if safe work practices are not followed. Learn to avoid these common hazards:

  • Know the hazards and dangers in the job to be done and use the appropriate tool to help if there is one.
  • Be aware of pinch points or potential for cuts (boxes, paper cutters, doors, box knives, staplers). Make sure sharp objects are properly stored.
  • Be aware of hot areas (hot water dispensers, coffee pots, food heated in microwaves). Use hot pads and cups with handles.
  • Be aware of rotating or moving surfaces (carts or computers on wheels: C.O.W.s)
  • Be aware of other interactions that could potentially open up opportunities for bites or scratches.
  • Clean up spills immediately so no one can slip and fall.

Safety Tip of the Week: File Cabinet Safety

File Cabinet with top drawer open showing file folders

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about File Cabinet Safety.

File cabinets are a very common feature in most school offices and classrooms. These sometimes large pieces of furniture can store massive amounts of information and are useful for organizing papers. However, file cabinets can be a source of workplace injuries. Taking precautions with file cabinets in your classroom or work space can help prevent many hazards.

Keeping a file cabinet properly organized will help prevent injuries and accidents. When possible, the drawers should be equal in weight. If they are uneven, the heavier items should be placed at the bottom. A heavy top drawer can cause the entire cabinet to tip over when the drawer is pulled out. If items other than files are being stored in the cabinet, make sure that they fit neatly into the drawer. Items that stick up past the top of the drawer can get caught in the cabinet, making it difficult to open.

File cabinets should be placed out of the path of traffic when possible. This will help to reduce injuries caused by running into an open drawer. Placing the file cabinet up against a wall will also help to keep it stable and sturdy. When installing new file cabinets, always make sure that they are level so that they aren’t in danger of tipping over. A file cabinet that tips forward may have the added danger of drawers that slide open on their own.

Simple maintenance can keep the cabinet in top working order. Check periodically for rough edges. Wood cabinets may cause splinters and metal cabinets can get sharp edges or jagged corners. Sand or file down these rough spots as soon as you notice them. Make sure that the cabinet always has a sturdy handle on it. If the handle is loose or falls off, it should be repaired right away. Closing a drawer without the use of a handle can result in injury from pinched fingers. You should also take the time to reorganize the file cabinet periodically. It may be helpful to send archived items to the Knox building instead of taking up space in the file cabinets.

If you have questions regarding archiving you may reach out to Rob Hardy, Digital Records Supervisor at the Knox Administrative building at 360-596-8570.

Safety Tip of the Week: New Year’s Resolutions – Tips for Safety Success

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about New Year’s Resolutions, offering tips for safety success.

New Year’s Resolutions – Tips for Safety Success

Welcome back! It’s that time of year again to resolve to make our work environment even safer than they were before the holidays.

Let’s make sure we ensure the success of our new resolutions by following these tips:

  • Start small. Place your focus on one hazard of concern at a time. For example:
    • Make sure the exit to the classroom is unobstructed.
    • Inspect electrical cords for damage. If they are frayed, split or broken have them replaced.
    • Make sure walking paths are clear of tripping hazards.
  • Change unsafe behavior by focusing on the actions that most likely contribute to the hazard. For example:
    • Lifting with your legs to protect your back.
    • Changing positions often if you are doing a task which requires prolonged sitting.
  • Talk about goals set and share with coworkers to ensure everyone pitches in.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if mistakes happen and there is an accident figure out why and take the appropriate steps to correct it.
  • If a hazard cannot be immediately taken care of ask for help. The SSC staff, Principals and other Supervisors are available to help.

Millions of people make resolutions at the beginning of the new year and need to make sure they check in on the progress of those goals periodically. I recommend making sure you put a reminder in your calendar to review your resolutions. Looking back at your resolutions and seeing progress can be inspiring.

Safety Tip of the Week: How important is a good night’s rest?

Male dressed in work attire sleeping on his open computer laptop

This week, Wendy Couture, the district’s safety and risk reduction manager, shares information about the health benefits of getting a good night’s rest.

How important is a good night’s rest?

When we think of all the things we find important in our daily lives that takes up the most amount of time in our days, things that come to mind might be family, activities or work, but one thing that should take up about one-third of our time is getting the right amount of sleep to reap the benefits of greater health. Getting less than six to seven hours of sleep each night results in a greater risk of developing disease.

Sleep requirements change with our age, but getting enough sleep is critical to how we function throughout the day. Some people are chronically sleep deprived.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation include:

  • Sleepiness.
  • Mood changes.
  • Difficulty concentrating and impaired performance.
  • Memory loss.
  • Disorientation, hallucinations and paranoia.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the following ages are recommended to get the appropriate amount of sleep for optimum health:

Chart showing numbers of hours per day is the recommended amount of sleep for different ages, ranging from infant to adult.

Benefits of getting enough sleep:

  • Fights off depression.
  • Increases memory.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Increases health (Stronger immunity).

Getting enough sleep is as important as having a good diet and getting enough exercise in the day.

Take these steps each day to improve your sleep:

  • Have a set bedtime and wake up time.
  • Reduce caffeine intake before bed.
  • Take time to relax prior to bed — turn off the TV and put away the phone.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Have a comfortable pillow and mattress.

During this hectic time of the year, it is easy to stay up late trying to get things done. Remember, losing sleep can catch up to you and increase those holiday blues.