Sleep Deprivation at Work

sleep deprivation at work blog post

The National Sleep Foundation found that 50 million Americans suffer from lack of sleep on a regular basis. On any given night, only 27% of Americans fulfill the recommended amount of sleep of 7 to 9 hours. It is no wonder the CDC declares sleep disorders a public health epidemic. Fatigued workers are 70% more likely to be in accidents at work compared to someone who slept 8 hours. Getting 4 hours of sleep is akin to drinking six beers. Although safety issues may be lessened for office workers, the effects of poor sleep hygiene are still pronounced.

Lack of sleep can be ground zero for other health issues.

Those without sufficient sleep are at a higher risk for heart disease, obesity, and decreased cognitive performance.

For busy professionals, it is vital to prioritize sleep for one’s long term well-being.

Insufficient sleep can drive people to reevaluate the demands of their job. A negotiated work schedule that allows for a balanced life that prioritizes sleep will enhance a worker’s well-being and productivity. 

Flexible schedules, work from home options, and in-office naps all contribute to a more productive and happy workers. Employees should work with managers by emphasizing the productivity benefits that will be achieved through employer-supported sleep initiatives. Shorter shift times, bright lights, and healthy food options all contribute to a worker’s productivity.  

Companies that do not address sleep deprivation contribute to the United State’s $411 billion in economic losses per year, the highest of any nation by far. The Rand Corporation estimates over 1 million lost working days per year solely due to the effects of sleep deprivation on companies. Even for small businesses, one fatigued worker costs employers upwards of $3100 annually. 

How Does Lack of Sleep Affect Your Work?

Decreased Immunity

Lack of sleep compromises the body’s ability to fend off diseases. Research found that the flu vaccine is less effective when the patient had gotten less than 7 hours of sleep at some time in the last week. Sleep is critical for the production and release of cytokines, which provide signals to cells that regulate and mediate immunity and inflammation. One night of lessened sleep can down-regulate one’s immune response when injected with a flu virus.

Sleeping one hour less may increase your body’s chance of developing a cold or flu by 30%.

Decreased Productivity

Research at Hult Business School found that even 30 minutes of extra sleep affects work performance. Even beyond a general lethargy and lack of focus, it takes sleep deprived workers longer to finish tasks and solve problems.

People who sleep at least 7 hours can expect to perform 10% better than sleep deprived colleagues. 

Emotional Instability

Sleep loss causes irritability and an inability to self-regulate behavior. Displays of negative emotions increase with chronic fatigue. Psychologists recommend patients to set a consistent sleep schedule and eat a fatty, protein rich breakfast in order to curb one’s emotional instability. A consistent waking time is more important for emotional regulation than a consistent sleeping time. Blue light in the morning is critical to wake up the body and mind, whereas that same blue light at night sabotages sleep. 

Lack of sleep affects the body’s ability to fight disease and the mind’s ability to regulate itself. Mood shifts downward, along with one’s productivity at work. However, there are strategies that can be used to lessen the effects of sleep deprivation. The most obvious is to get more sleep at the first available opportunity. 

How can you function with little to no sleep?

Without the use of caffeine and other stimulants, there are simple ways to increase alertness. However, each method is not a replacement for actual sleep and its effects are temporary. The only way to address chronic fatigue is by practicing good sleep hygiene by setting a consistent sleep schedule. 

  1. Ice water | Cold Shower
    • Drinking ice water temporarily decreases fatigue, however, cold showers or an ice bath are the is a temporary way to function with little to no sleep. Submersion in cold water for over 2 minutes increases the body’s immune function and the mind’s ability to regulate mood. 
    • To effectively use a cold shower, slowly lower the temperature of the water to not shock the body. Continue to breathe normally. Finish the shower as cold as you can handle for at least thirty seconds.
  2. Sunlight or Artificial Blue Light
    • Artificial blue light and sunlight both decrease melatonin production and signal wakefulness to the mind. To effectively prepare to work sleep deprived, expose yourself to light as soon as possible after waking up. 
    • Natural sunlight breaks during work will provide a mood boost. You may find newfound energy after a short, brisk walk in the fresh air. If napping is not allowed, sunlight may be your savior. 
  3. 20 Minute Power Naps
    • Many companies recognize that employee performance suffers when sleep deprived. To respond to this, on-site napping is no longer taboo at companies such as Nike, Zappos,  and Google. Quiet spaces for employees to nap increase productivity and general health and wellness. 
    • To most effectively nap at work, limit the nap time to 20 minutes. Because a full sleep cycle is 90 minutes, 20 minutes is not deep enough into the cycle to not be interrupted. One 20 minute nap can temporarily act as a full sleep cycle and provide wakefulness, as long as it is not a long term solution to chronic fatigue. 
  4. Physical Activity
    • A small increase in heart rate associated with physical activity decreases the effects of sleep deprivation and increases wakefulness. A sustained increase in heart rate is most effective and can be achieved through a walking desk, or frequent physical activity breaks. Bodyweight exercises can be substituted for an under the desk elliptical or a standing desk. Thirty squats every 15 minutes mimic the effects of caffeine without any negative side effects. 
  5. Eat Small Meals
    • Large carbohydrate dense meals increase drowsiness. To combat sleep deprivation, small protein and fat rich meals provide sustained energy all day. Small meals every 2.5 to 3 hours are the most effective regimen for performance. Four ounces of protein with vegetables and an omega rich oil will sustain your body until a full night’s sleep can be achieved. 

How can you Identify Chronic Sleep Issue?

Losing a few hours of sleep a week is not enough to qualify for chronic insomnia. Most sleep issues people experience are short term. Stressing about a meeting on monday generally leads to better sleep on  monday night. However, for people who experience consistent sleep problems, they may be diagnosed with chronic insomnia.

Signs to Look out For

  1. Difficulty falling asleep
    • The average person takes 14 minutes to fall asleep. 
  2. Waking up and being unable to fall back asleep
  3. Waking up too early
  4. Relying on Caffeine to wake up
  5. Relying on Alcohol to fall asleep 

Chronic sleep issues generally is a self-fulfilling cycle. Anxiety around sleep can cause you to take longer to fall asleep, be unable to fall back asleep if awoken, and cause you to take up early. Once you feel tired, you may lean on caffeine to help with the symptoms, further causing poor sleep and a reliance on the substance emerges. To avoid chronic sleep issues keep a consistent wake up time and talk to your doctor if problems continue for an extended period of time.

Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies

How To Improve Workplace Safety

How To Improve Workplace Safety

Safety training should be included in any business’ monthly meeting agendas. During safety meetings, the person in charge should talk about workplace safety precautions or train employees about new safety measures to observe.

Many people retain only a small percentage of what they hear or read. Therefore, the person in charge needs to do more than read the safety procedures from a manual. He needs proper planning if he wants the meeting to be exciting and achieve the intended goal.

To ensure the success of the meeting, the meeting materials should be presented appropriately. That way, the meeting attendees will be able to retain the information after the session is over. However, holding a successful safety meeting is not always easy, and many people find it boring.

OSHA Training Guidance

Since its formation by the federal government in 1971, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has helped decrease the number of workplace injuries by 65%. The success rate can be attributed to the comprehensiveness of the organization’s training requirements. These requirements ensure that only people who are knowledgeable about workplace safety get certified.

The main objective of OSHA training guidelines is to ensure that employees understand how to stay safe in their workplaces. As many researchers have confirmed, most workplace injuries happen to new employees who have little to no knowledge of the OSHA safety requirements. These requirements affect every company that has employees, although not every business is subject to the Act.

Businesses that are exempt from OSHA requirements include;

  • Those with less than ten employees.
  • Have more than ten employees but are in a less hazardous industry.
  • Those that employ immediate family members.
  • Those offering domestic services.

Additionally, businesses that are under federal agencies, churches, and other religious institutions are not under OSHA requirements.

How to Run a Successful Safety Meeting

It’s always essential to ensure that employees understand the risks associated with their workplace. Such risk information is passed to employees during well-organized safety meetings whereby they’re allowed to ask questions. Follow the tips below to hold such a meeting.

Ensure the Right Ambience

It’s necessary to ensure the comfort of the attendees during the meeting. Organize for the required equipment, such as a pa address, early in advance. Doing this avoids experiencing inconveniences caused by broken equipment.

The event organizer should confirm that the lighting system is working properly and that the temperatures are at a comfortable level. The projector overhead and speakers should be set and tested prior to the meeting to confirm their functionality.

Having the attendees seated during the meeting ensures maximum participation. Consider using round tables or arranging the chairs in a U shape where there are no round tables. Creating a favorable atmosphere increases the concentration of the attendees and the retention of the topics.

Take Minutes

Just like any other meeting, there should be someone taking minutes to help keep a record of what the group has learned. Also, encourage the attendees to take notes or record the safety meeting proceedings for accuracy purposes.

Use Different Training Techniques

Different people have varying ways levels of understanding, depending on how the information was passed. You can increase the retention levels by combining different training techniques such as group discussions and video presentations.

Spice It Up

Eliminate boredom during the lessons by involving in activities such as games and contests. Ensure that the attendees understand the experience by using teaching materials such as PowerPoint presentations. Make sure the slides are updated for that particular lesson and not old slides from a previous meeting.

Distinguish the Literacy Level of the Attendees

The literacy levels of different employees and their understanding of the English language should help determine the best training method. If some employees are not fluent in English, consider having handouts written in their respective languages in addition to the visual presentations. Giving examples in each case further helps the topics to sink in; analogies help the audience relate to the subject better.

Ending the safety meeting on light note helps reinforce the topics before closing the meeting. Some good ways to end it is by holding a question and answer session, giving a quiz, or filling feedback forms.

OSHA Safety Meeting Requirements

Having safety committees help businesses put in place safety measures and procedures that minimize work-related injuries and deaths. Also, OSHA requires every company to provide its employees with a safe working environment. The organization goes ahead to provide employers with the right leadership to spearhead the creation of workplace safety awareness.

Businesses can ensure these measures are followed by holding safety meetings between its owners and the employees. During these meetings, the following topics should be discussed;

Workplace Hazards

There’re a wide array of workplace hazards ranging from chemicals to technology materials that cause injuries and sometimes death in workplaces. Any business can be exposed to these dangers, whether dealing with them directly or indirectly. The person in charge of safety meetings needs to ensure that the company employees have access to material safety data sheets.

Ensure that the employees understand;

  • Specific hazards in each item.
  • How to handle hazardous materials and chemicals.
  • Clean-up procedure in case of spills.
  • Medical procedures in case of exposure.

Strain Injuries

Sometimes an employee may be working in a place that calls for a repetitive physical position. Such a situation results in Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) such as tendinitis. RSI mostly affect employees who work behind the desk for long hours, using the telephone for long hours, and repetitive actions at the warehouse.

In this case, the safety meeting can handle topics such as:

  • Workstation evaluation and assigned tasks.
  • Measures to help reduce strain injuries.
  • Regulation of laws that will ensure the employer institutes ergonomic precautions.

Emergency Preparedness

 During safety meetings, employees should be taught how to prepare in case of emergencies such as safety system failure, natural disasters, and theft. Employees should be equipped with comprehensive safety planning by discussing topics such as;

  • Evacuation plans.
  • Use of first aid kits.
  • How to use AED devices in case of heart problems.
  • Giving CPR.
  • Dealing with natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornados, and hurricanes.

Safety Rules and Regulations

Each business has its safety rules and regulations set in place. Remind employees about those rules during the regular safety meetings. Confirm that;

  • OSHA safety standards are met.
  • Employees wear the right safety gear while at work.
  • Workstations and areas are kept clean and safe.

Housekeeping and Sanitation

Working in a clean environment reduces some unnecessary workplace hazards. Remind the employees about the importance of;

  • Disposing of the trash properly.
  • Not obstructing the walkways and passageways.
  • Maintaining proper lighting inside and outside the buildings.
  • Having clean filtered drinking water.
  • Working in properly ventilated rooms.

Fire Prevention

To avoid and protect against fire accidents in workplaces, ensure;

  • ‘No smoking’ signs are appropriately placed.
  • Fire extinguishers are adequately charged and placed in the right positions.
  • Exit and evacuation routes are adequately labeled.
  • Proper labeling and storage of flammable materials.

Bottom Line

Following OSHA safety requirements help reduce work-related injuries and accidents. The organization offers free and confidential safety advice to small businesses, which employers should consider. Small businesses can further comply with starting a safety program in their workplace. They can use the program to teach employees about potential work hazards and appropriate precautionary measures to take.

It’s important to note that violating OSHA safety requirements attracts penalties. The size of the business determines the penalties. Small companies are exempt from some of OSHA regulations but are liable to others, but either way, observing employee safety is paramount.

Foam Swabs 101: Everything You Need to Know About Foam Tipped Applicators

Foam swabs are a better solution for critical industries like cleanroom, medical device assembly, PCB assembly, and electronic manufacturing. Most people view swabs as common cotton fiber wrapped on a stick.

However, while cotton is commonly used, Foam applicator swabs are also used by technicians to perform meticulous tasks like repair, precision cleaning, and assembly.

Made of polyurethane foam, these swabs are open-celled foam that contains 100 pores per every square inch.

The pore-and-open-cell structure makes the foam swab extremely effective in trapping particles. Additionally, they thermally bonded, non-abrasive, and durable.

You can also use them with most cleaning compounds and organic compounds. Available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, which means there is swab for every cleaning application.

More Cleaning Power

Excellent Cleaning Capabilities

Foam swabs have great cleaning properties than cotton swabs. The foam swabs have ESD-safe handles that are thermally bonded and help prevent separation during use.

Another advantage of thermal bonding is that it eliminates the usage of contaminating adhesives, sprays, and coatings. Foam is free from amides, silicones, and DOP, which makes them compatible with most cleaning solvents.

Some foam applicators are even compatible with acetone.

Puritan Foam Swab, Round Tip, 5″, Polypropylene Shaft

Gentle for Delicate Surfaces

From cleaning printed circuit boards (PCB) assemblies to delicate CD’s, these swabs are soft and have low abrasion to protect delicate components.

PurSwab ESD Foam Pointed Tip Swab, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft

Uses of Foam Tipped Applicators

There are several areas in various environments that need to be cleaned regularly. However, most places are delicate or hard to reach, and most cleaning tools are either too large or cumbersome for the job.

Most people and businesses turn to foam tipped swabs for effective and precise cleaning.

Foam swabs are soft and non-abrasive, which makes them safe for use even in the most sensitive areas. This type of swabs also features thermal bonding, which helps prevent contamination.

They are not only soft for gentle cleaning, but also sturdy to avoid flexing, folding, and bending during regular use. You can also use them when they are wet or dry.

Puritan Foam Swab, Mini-Paddle Tip, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft

Removing Contaminants in Manufacturing Environments

If you produce pharmaceuticals, it’s important that your manufacturing environment remains free of any contaminants. Biological contaminants such as pathogens are often introduced by operators.

Fungi and mold may also develop or introduced during processing. Other contaminants include debris that may be introduced when handling some components like metal, fiber, glass pieces, lubricants, and plastic particles.

The best way to keep your pharmaceutical manufacturing environment clean is by using single-use foam tipped swabs.

Because they are only used once, you won’t have to worry about transferring contaminants to other surfaces.

Thanks to their low lint and super-absorbency properties, the swabs will clean all surfaces and equipment of industrial and biological contaminants without causing further issues.

Cleaning swabs for Printer cleaning and maintenance

Clog build up can damage your printer or ruin your work. However, you can use foam swabs to clean the capping stations, wiper blades, and printer heads during routine maintenance.

Unlike cotton swabs, soft foam tip swabs will leave no residue. Plus, they contain no contaminating adhesives.

Use the right foam printer cleaning swabs to maintain your equipment for clean and crisp images and avoid ink splotching and poor performance.

CleanTex Large Paddle Tip Foam Swab, Polypropylene Shaft, 100/bag

Precision cleaning with foam cleanroom swabs

While cotton swabs are more economical, when it comes to more precision cleaning, foam swabs are ideal, especially where lint should be avoided.

You can easily pair these swabs with disinfectants and cleaning fluids for unique applications.

Additionally, these swabs come in different sizes; they can be as small as 1.7mm with handles as short as 50mm or as long as 2.5 meters.

Tekniswab Conical Tip Foam Swab, 3″, Polypropylene Shaft, 500/bag

Foam gun cleaning swabs

Are you a gun enthusiast? You will want to keep your gun clean. Foam tip swabs are engineered to clean the action areas of your gun.

These swabs are lint-free and non-abrasive, washable and somewhat reusable during the same cleaning session.

Additionally, they are made in different sizes to make it easy to clean the rails, crowns, slides, trigger assemblies, and other hard to reach areas. These swabs have bendable handles that won’t easily break or splinter.

Puritan Cylindrical Tip Foam Swab, 2.7″, Polypropylene Shaft

Where to buy?

Are you in the market for the best swab that can help you reach those hard-to-reach areas? Depending on the area you want to clean, there are many different sizes and shapes available at Harmony.

Choose from Chemtonics, CleanTex, Coventry, Puritan Medical Products and Teknipure.

To start cleaning today, visit Foam Swabs at Harmony and see the broad assortment for your particular use.

foam swabs

Calcium Alginate Tipped Applicator Uses

Learn the benefits of using Calcium Alginate Tipped Swabs for specimen collection, testing, screening, and more.

Learn the benefits of using Calcium Alginate Tipped Swabs for specimen collection, testing, screening, and more.

Calcium alginate swabs are ideal for use in diverse medical applications. In general, calcium alginate tipped applicators are manufactured using organic fiber. The natural fiber is derived from beneficial sources like seaweed.

Therefore, the swabs are safe for use and free from latex, which can cause allergic reactions among patients with hypersensitivity.

These products are suited for universal use in medical practices. Calcium alginate is also a biodegradable material.

This property is beneficial because there will be no foreign materials left on a patient after use for a prolonged period.

The fibers will be dissolved within a short period through contact with tissues and body fluids.

Therefore, there is no risk of an adverse reaction resulting from the accumulation of foreign matter.

The calcium alginate swabs can be bonded to wood, plastic and metal shafts for easy use.

Understanding the Potential Uses

Specimen Collection

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Transport Tube

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Transport Tube

The calcium alginate swabs are suitable for collecting samples for clinical purposes. The shape of the applicator and tip makes the applicator an ideal choice for handling cell collection in difficult areas.

These swabs can be used for culture collection from the eyes, ears and nasopharynx.

The alginate applicators are also valuable in ENT pediatrics and even veterinary medicine.

STD Screening

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Aluminum Shaft, 50/box

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Aluminum Shaft

Calcium alginate tipped applicators are ideal for use in STD screening.

Unlike other swabs, these products do not contain fatty acids.

Keep this in mind, because they are suitable for isolating cultures of disease causing microorganisms which are denatured easily.

For instance, some gonorrhea strains are inhibited by fatty acids. Also, the flexible and slim design of the applicator is suitable for urethra-genital application,

Wound Care

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Plastic shaft, 1000/cs

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Plastic shaft

It is also important to note that wounds tend to attract residues from swabs. Alginate applicators are suitable because the residue fibers will be degraded naturally.

The alginate swabs are advantageous for use in wound care.

Note: The medical-grade products are perfect for cleaning sites of injury because the tip material is organic and safe.

Choosing The Right Calcium Alginate Swab

If you are interested in acquiring calcium alginate swabs for your medical practice, you will need to choose the most suitable products for your specific uses.

The right swabs will ensure convenience, affordability and safety for your workplace.

Here are essential considerations for swab selection.

Shaft Material

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Miniature Tip Swab
Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Aluminum Shaft
Calcium Alginate Tipped Applicator with Wooden Handle
Regular Calcium Alginate Tipped Applicator with Semi-Flexible Plastic Handle

When choosing your applicator, you should compare the benefits of different shaft materials for your specific uses.

Usually, you can choose aluminum, wood or plastic shafts. Aluminum shafts are favorable for urethra-genital applications because they are flexible.

Wood shafts are firm and suited for wound care and sample collection. Plastic shafts are semi-flexible and are ideal for wound care.

Applicator Size

You should compare the sizes of the different alginate swabs on the market before choosing the most suitable for your needs.

The critical measurements that you should evaluate are the tip sizes and the applicator length. There is no perfect size for all uses.

And, larger swabs are ideal for wound care, but they are unsuitable for use in pediatric care. If you need applicators for this purpose, you must look for miniature tips.

Sterile or Non-Sterile

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Transport Tube

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Transport Tube

Medical-grade calcium alginate swabs are available in sterile and non-sterile packages. The best products are dependent on the potential use.

Sterile swabs are wrapped individually to prevent contamination from external sources.

These are naturally more favorable for medical uses. Non-sterile options are available in simple boxes.

Puritan Calcium Alginate Swabs

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Nasopharyngeal, 50/box

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Nasopharyngeal

Puritan calcium alginate tipped applicators are exceptional products which are manufactured using organic and natural fiber derived from seaweed.

The swabs are available in a range of tip sizes and shaft lengths for different uses. These swabs are FDA compliant, CE-marked and ISO-approved for medical applications.

Some of the popular products include:

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swabs, Aluminum Shaft

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Aluminum Shaft, 50/box

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Aluminum Shaft, 50/box

The sterile calcium alginate miniature swab is suited for wound care and specimen collection.

The flexible shaft is made from aluminum, making it the ideal choice for urethra-genital use.

Also the miniature tip is also suited for use in ophthalmology, veterinary practices and pediatric care.

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swabs, Wood Shaft

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Wood shaft, 1000/cs

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Wood shaft

The sterile calcium alginate tip swabs with wooden shafts are individually wrapped, and they are suited for wound care and sample collection.

The tip is regular-sized and the shaft is 6 inches, making the applicators versatile in medical applications.

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swabs, Plastic Shaft

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Plastic shaft, 1000/cs

Puritan Sterile Calcium Alginate Swab, Plastic shaft

This product is suited for general applications including wound care and sample collection. These swabs are economical for heavy use workplaces.

This sterile calcium alginate swab applicator comes with semi-flexible plastic shaft and a standard size swab.

If you are interested in calcium alginate tip applicators for your medical practice, you should check out the wide range of economical and versatile products available from Harmony.