Safety Net | July 2020

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JULY 2020




NHTSA’s 5 Tips for Summer Road Safety 06.17.2020 by Stefanie Valentic

States have begun to re-open their businesses following the threat of COVID-19, and Americans are beginning to venture out for fun in the sun. The official start of summer is June 20, and that means vacations are on the horizon. To keep the roads safe National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers and passengers avoid distractions, stay sober,


always wear a seat belt and make sure that children are in the correct car seat or booster seat.

Austin employees have

As families hit the road for vacation, here are additional tips from the NHTSA to

worked 3,511,747 hours

ensure a safe trip

without a Lost Time Accident through 05/2020.

SERVICE CAR BEFORE HITTING THE ROAD. Regular maintenance such as tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks and tire rotations go a long way toward preventing breakdowns. If your vehicle has been serviced according

of excessive or uneven wear. If the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace your tires. Use the “penny test” to determine when it’s time to replace your tires. Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your vehicle needs new tires. For more information on tire safety, visit


to the manufacturer’s

Even a well-maintained vehicle

recommendations, it should

can break down, so it’s

be in good condition to

good to put together an

travel. If your vehicle hasn’t

emergency roadside kit to

been serviced—or you don’t know

carry with you. Suggested

the service history of the vehicle you plan to drive—

emergency roadside kit

schedule a preventive maintenance checkup with your

contents: Cell phone

mechanic right away.

and charger First aid kit


Flashlight Flares and a white flag Jumper cables

Owners may not always know that

Tire pressure gauge Jack (and

their vehicle has been recalled and needs to be repaired. NHTSA’s VIN look-up tool lets you enter a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to quickly learn if a specific

ground mat) for changing a tire Basic repair tools Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines Maps Emergency blankets, towels and coats.


vehicle has an outstanding

Warmer weather attracts many

safety recall in the last 15

types of road users, including

years. Check for recalls on

motorcyclists, bicyclists,

your vehicle by searching now:

and pedestrians. While, and sign up for

they have the same

email recall alerts at If your vehicle has

rights, privileges, and

an outstanding safety recall, contact the local new car

responsibilities as every

dealer of your vehicle’s brand for your free repair.

driver, these road users


are more vulnerable because they do not have

Check your vehicle’s tire inflation

the protection of a car or truck.

pressure at least once a month and when your tires are cold (when the car hasn’t been driven for three hours or more)—and don’t forget to check your spare, if your vehicle is equipped with one. The correct pressure for your tires is listed on a label on the driver’s door pillar or doorframe or in the vehicle owner’s manual. Take five minutes to inspect your tires for signs

Things to remember as a driver: Leave more distance between you and a motorcycle— three or four seconds worth. Keep your eyes open for distracted pedestrians. Stop for pedestrians and bicyclists who are in a crosswalk, even if it’s not marked. Cars stopped in the street may be stopped to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross. Do not pass if there is any doubt. When you are turning and waiting for a gap in traffic, watch for pedestrians and bicyclists who may have moved into your intended path. Be especially attentive around schools and in neighborhoods where children are active.

16-year-old Dies at Nashville Construction Site EHS | 06.24.2020 by Stefanie Valentic The accident occurred at 315 Interstate Dr., a La Quinta

survive. Detectives who arrived at the scene noted that no

Inn job site.

fall protection was observed being worn at the job site.

Summer normally is filled with gatherings, laughter and

Young workers often are unaware of the dangers

fun as well as teens looking to enter the workforce for the

they face in the workplace. OSHA states that workers

first time.

between the ages of 16 and 17 are permitted to work on

On June 3, a 16-year-old worker fell to his death at a La

construction sites at a limited capacity. For teens under

Quinta Inn hotel construction site in downtown Nashville. Gustavo Enrique Ramirez was a part-time employee for Cortez Plastering, a subcontractor on the project. According to news reports, Ramirez and his brother were completing work at heights. Around 3 p.m., his brother heard a noise and watched as Ramirez fell from scaffolding at 120 ft. While he

the age of 16, appropriate tasks would include office or sales work. The Fair Labor Standards Act further dictates that 16-year-olds should not perform in certain hazardous occupations. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 160,000 Americans under the age of 18 are injured on the job every year.

immediately called emergency services, Ramirez did not


Sun Protection 101: A Complete Guide to Skin Damage Prevention OHS | 06.01.2020 by Alsie Nelson Those who do not respect the sun’s almighty powers may

radiation—specifically, sunburn. Redness, heat and pain are

ultimately find themselves in a world of skin damage.

the body’s attempt to repair skin cell DNA that has been

The sun. You know, the life-enabling center of our universe

mutated by UV photons. A long-term build of unrepaired

and a muse for everyone from The Beatles to Sheryl Crow.

cells is what can ultimately become skin cancer.

But for all it giveth, it taketh away—and those who do


not respect the sun’s almighty powers may ultimately find themselves in a world of skin damage.

IT’S TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT SUN PROTECTION Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with cases increasing by nearly 10 percent each year. One in five Americans will develop it in their

Now for the good news. Though skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, it’s also one of the most preventable. A simple combination of sunscreen, protective clothing and shade can drastically decrease the risk of cancer and skin damage. And for those still thinking “Whatever, man, my suntan is a badge of honor” after reading the above, you are not cool—you are stupid.

lifetime, making it more common than all other forms of

Not sorry.

cancer combined.

And the experts at OSHA agree, recommending the

The likelihood of developing skin cancer for those who

following for sun-exposed workers:

work outdoors is 3.5 times higher than for those who do

• Cover up with loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirts and pants

not. The sun damage risk on worksites is so high OSHA has identified UV as a carcinogen. With skin cancer expenses exponentially increasing (more than $8 billion spent annually), treatment costs are detrimental to both workers

• Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 • Wear a wide brim hat to protect neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp

and their employers.

• Wear UV-absorbent sunglasses

That’s all pretty staggering, but what really causes it? Ninety

• Limit exposure—UV rays are most intense between

percent of skin cancer diagnoses are directly attributed

10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

to long-term overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV)







No danger to the average person

Wearing a hat or sunglasses is sufficient

1 Hour +


Little risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure

Wear a hat and sunglasses Use SPF 15+ Sunscreen

40 Minutes

Wear a hat and sunglasses


High risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure

Use SPF 30+ Sunscreen Cover the body with clothing

30 Minutes

Avoid the sun if possible Wear a hat and sunglasses


Very high risk of harm from unprotected sun

Use SPF 30+ Sunscreen


Cover the body with clothing

Extreme high risk of harm from unprotected sun

Take all precautions possible

Less than


It is advised to stay indoors

15 Minutes

20 Minutes

Avoid the sun if possilble


SUNSCREEN We know, you’ve heard this from your mother before. But, the fact of the matter is, sunscreen is the most important measure for proper sun damage prevention. To understand how it works, we must understand what Sun Protection Factor (or SPF) means. Varying SPFs block incremental amounts of UVA and UVB rays, with the number representing how many times longer a person can remain in the sun without burning.

For example, 50 UPF means only one fiftieth of the sun’s rays will pass through the fabric. UPF clothing comes in just about every style these days and, for those who really want to beat the heat, there are more advanced options with activated cooling technology. Unobtrusive UPF headwear, bands, and sleeves are worthwhile additions for any outdoor worker.

POLARIZED SUNGLASSES And jeepers creepers, don’t forget about those peepers.

What’s the difference between the two? UVA rays

While ocular melanoma is not associated with sun exposure,

penetrate harmful photons deeper into the skin to cause

UV ray damage can increase odds of developing eyelid

premature aging and immunologic problems, while shorter

cancer and serious eyesight-impairing conditions such as

UVB rays are what damage DNA and give way to skin

cataracts and macular degeneration.

cancer. Not all sunscreens protect against both, so be sure to look for ones labeled “broad spectrum.”

According to the American Optometric Association, sunglasses should block 99-100 percent of UV rays. Polarized

Sunscreen should be thoroughly applied to exposed

lenses can offer even more protection by reducing

skin prior to going outside, and reapplication should

glare and eye fatigue around water, snow and other

occur every two hours. The Center for Disease Control

bright environments. And with new generations of safety

recommends all skin types use at least 15 SPF, which blocks

glasses looking and performing more like athletic eyewear,

93 percent of UV rays. The fairer your skin, the higher SPF

you’ll look and feel good using them.

you should use—with SPF 50 blocking up to 98 percent. Luckily for those who don’t like the feel of traditional lotions,


sunscreen also comes in easy-apply sticks and sprays.

In the case of sun protection, throwing shade is a good


thing. Blockage of direct sunlight should be incorporated

Clothing labeled with a significant ultraviolet protective

as possible to where work is occurring, substantial enough

factor (UPF) is another crucial (and relatively easy)

to cool down the body’s heat level, provide adequate

preventative measure. UPF differs from SPF because 1) it’s

space for all resting employees and make water readily

for clothing and 2) it always protects from both UVA and

available. If your site lacks built-in refuge from trees or

UVB rays. The rating scale is a bit different as well, with the

buildings, create it. From large pop-up shelters to light-

number directly correlating with the amount of UV it blocks.

blocking umbrellas, there are plenty of quick and easy-to-

whenever possible on worksites. Shade should be as close

deploy options available.



Every 7 seconds‌ a worker is injured on the job.


12,600 a day

per hour



a week

a year

104,000,000 =

Production days lost due to work-related injuries in 2017

Most common types of injuries keeping workers away from work

Sprains, strains or tears


Soreness or pain

Cuts, lacerations or punctures

workplace injury events resulting in lost work days 6

Helpful Tips:


workplace injury events resulting in lost work days Helpful Tips:

1. OVEREXERTION • Lifting or lowering • Repetitive motions






• Struck by or against object or equipment • Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects • Struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment or material



• Falls to a lower level OF INJURIES • Falls on the same level


1. Service

(includes firefighters and police)

• Avoid bending, reaching and twisting when lifting • Take frequent short breaks

• Store heavy objects close to the floor • Be aware of moving equipment/objects in your work area • Wear the proper personal protective equipment

• Place the base of ladders on an even, solid surface • Use good housekeeping practices

occupations with the largest number of workplace injuries resulting in days away from work

2. Transportation/ Shipping

3. Manufacturing/ Production

4. Installation, maintenance and repair

5. Construction

Employers should take action to spare workers 7 needless pain and suffering. While your safety is ultimately your employer’s responsibility,

Using Designated Areas as Fall Protection on Flat Roofs 06.08.2020 Employees may need to access a roof to service an air conditioning unit or perform other brief tasks. This raises the question of how close an employee can be to the edge of the roof before fall protection is needed. The answer, according to OSHA’s general industry standard at 1910.28(b)(13), is 15 feet, assuming the work is both temporary and infrequent. Otherwise, some type of fall protection is needed.

TEMPORARY AND INFREQUENT A key phrase is “temporary and infrequent,” which is not defined in the OSHA regulation. However, the 2016 preamble to the revised Walking Working Surfaces regulations explained that “temporary” means the task will require no more than an hour or two, and “infrequent” means the need arises only on occasion, such as monthly. In addition, the task should require only one trip to the

A designated area is a type of fall protection, but it’s a

roof. OSHA gave an example of replacing an AC filter on

nonconventional option. Conventional fall protection

a roof unit once per month.

includes positioning systems or personal fall arrest systems, which require an anchor point rated at 5,000 pounds. An anchor point may not be available on a roof, and installing one might not be feasible. A designated area may be used on low-slope roofs (also called flat roofs) in two situations. • First, if the work will be at least 6 feet from the edge (but

To summarize, a designated area can be used if: • The work is at least 15 feet from the edge, no matter how long the job will take; or • The work is at least 6 feet from the edge and is both temporary and infrequent. A designated area is not an option (and conventional fall

less than 15 feet), a designated area may be used if the

protection is required) if:

work is both temporary and infrequent.

• The work is within 6 feet of the edge, or

• Second, if the work will be 15 feet or more from the edge, a designated area may be used. In fact, if employees will be at least 15 feet from the edge and the work is both temporary and infrequent, no fall protection is required (not even a designated area).

• The work is within 15 feet of the edge but does not qualify as temporary and infrequent. The designated area provision was intended to be compatible with warning line systems for construction under 1926.502(f). However, the construction rule does

For work within 6 feet of the edge, a designated area

not have the restriction for “temporary and infrequent”

cannot be used. Employees must use conventional fall

tasks, so warning lines could be used in construction work

protection like a personal fall arrest system, positioning

without regard for the duration of the task.

systems, or guardrails.

Facing Safe Re-Opening – A Leader’s Perspective National Safety Council | 06.22.2020 by Lorraine Martin As we wind down National Safety Month, states continue

likely to be even more prevalent now. Employers have an

lifting shelter-in-place orders and other restrictions to

important role to play in supporting employees and helping

support economic recovery. Millions have headed back

them get the support they need so they are able to return

to work and traditional work locations this month, and

to work and safely focus on the job at hand.

people are eager to regain a sense of normal during unprecedented times.

This is just the start. Working with Fortune-500 companies and other experts we have developed playbooks for

Keeping employees safe during normal operations is one

employers to help them navigate these challenges and

thing, but keeping employees safe during a time of social

protect employees through a safe recovery. SAFER

upheaval and COVID-19 is quite another. There are no easy

provides a wealth of information and tools that may be

answers as we unpack how we can get our work done and

particularly helpful for small and medium size businesses

get back to work safely. In addition, business leaders must

without robust safety staff or programs. For those who may

examine how we are going to address the very real stress,

be unsure where to focus COVID-19 safety efforts, a free

anxiety and mental health challenges that our employees

Organizational Vulnerability Assessment can provide

are experiencing as a result of the pandemic and racial

some tailored recommendations. This tool also allows

injustice issues, made all too clear to us in past weeks.

organizations to examine specific risk factors for COVID-19

There’s no question that the decisions employers are facing

transmission according to type of operation and associated

today are more complex and have higher-stake outcomes

risk factors, and then determine potential control measures.

than most anything we have had to deal in the past. While

As workers return to traditional work environments, we urge

the drive to return to normal operations is understandable, I

business leaders to ensure this happens in the safest way

urge business leaders to ask “why” they are bringing people

possible. Our long-term economic recovery depends on it.

back to a work location, especially if remote operations

Working towards a safe reopening means there’s so much

have been effective, then determine “when.” Employers

more we can and must do to ensure workers are available,

need to make a case for why employees are being asked

healthy and safe, from the workplace to anyplace.

to return. To sustain our economic recovery, safety must be front and center. This means being cognizant of and responding appropriately to all the various risks our employees are facing right now, which include physical as well as psychological safety. For employers who had to significantly change their business or put their operations on hold, ensuring physical operations are clean and ready is a challenge. Traditional safety issues are not going away – and employees may need additional training or re-training after a long absence or change in operations. Businesses may have to consider how employees get to work in a safe manner when traditional public transportation presents new risks. Addressing the rising mental health and stress challenges has also become a top concern for all employers. Substance use issues tend to be exacerbated during times of external stressors. Distraction and fatigue are underlying causes of workplace incidents in the best of times and are


Leveraging Technology to Drive Workplace Ergonomics OHS | 06.01.2020 by Josiah Allen Just as methods for long-distance communication have

organization to be involved with the ergonomics process,

changed over the years, so have those used to facilitate an

thus making the likelihood of success much higher.

effective and sustainable ergonomics process. Where we were once restricted with face-to-face and pen-to-paper


techniques, remote work and easy-to-use assessment

Workplace training has evolved throughout the years with

methods make the development and maintenance of a

increased access to technology and better understanding

top-tier ergonomics team more attainable than ever. This

about how adults learn. While traditional training focused

article will share some key changes in technology that

on telling people, research is showing—and actions are

apply specifically to maintaining an effective ergonomics

proving—that the best way for learning to have a sustained

process and how to leverage those changes to mitigate

impact is to make lessons self-paced and action-oriented.

musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risk factors, injuries and costs

Compare higher education 20 years ago versus today:

at both the micro and macro level.

lecture-style learning meant students scratched notes

There are three primary components that fit together to

in shorthand to be reviewed later when studying key

create an effective ergonomics process:

concepts, while today’s classrooms increasingly rely on

• Learning—the methods by which people understand what ergonomics is, what it is not and how they can improve jobs by applying ergonomics principles • Doing—the process and methods by which people quantify MSD risk factors and engage employees • Managing—the methods by which people quantify risk reduction and track return on investment

online videos, interactive quizzes and podcasts to enhance learning and knowledge retention. The diversity of learning tools isn’t the only advancement we have been able to leverage over the years. Health and safety professionals understand that doing more with less has become the mantra of most companies, and “lean” is a common term. But until recently, most of the education provided to employees required hiring a

Technological advances have made access to these three

subject matter expert to come on site and deliver the

components easier than ever, allowing everyone in an

message. This method limits the size of the audience,


and it can be inconsistent, time-consuming and costly.

Over time, assessment methods and available equipment

What if the roots of a lesson are flawed or, at the end of

have changed drastically. Physical pen-and-paper

the day, are misunderstood? Relying on a small group of

techniques used to be all we had, and while they are still

trained individuals to develop an ergonomics process and

used heavily today, we’ve drastically shifted from physical

pass along knowledge themselves can have unintended

to digital. When I was in school and learning about surface

negative consequences. Rolling out a flawed approach

and intramuscular EMG, at the time, the only way to get

or communicating incorrect key learnings can set

good data was to have someone surrounded by wires,

organizations back several years and leave them with poor

which restricts movement, makes motion awkward and

data, ineffective team members, and extra costs to correct

limits the environment and task that can be assessed. Now

the process.

there are dozens of battery-powered devices that can

Online training has a high impact, reaches a larger

release information wirelessly to mobile devices.

audience and decreases costs significantly. The biggest

Mapping and analyzing motion data during real-world

benefit is that it enables audiences to learn in a way that

work used to be impossible. With advances in artificial

works for them. Reading, hearing and controlling the pace,

intelligence and computer vision, we can now simply

all in the learner’s preferred language, improves retention.

record a video using a phone and use software to map all

Reinforcing key learnings with touch-point quizzes and

the joint angles in a fraction of the time, with exponentially

reviewing content whenever questions arise are benefits of

more accuracy. As a result, we can spend more time

the digital age. The result is a standard set of lessons that

on what really matters: engaging with employees and

overcomes many of the obstacles organizations face when

implementing improvements to mitigate MSD risk factors.

relying on in-person trainings. Online training allows an organization to internalize the knowledge transfer process and sustain knowledge acquisition.

As research advances, so do quantitative evaluation methods. While it is important for some to understand the theory of how tools like the NIOSH Lifting Equation calculate

This doesn’t mean online training is enough. Just as we

their outputs, those details are not necessary for many users.

don’t all have the same taste in music, we don’t all learn

If you want to make ergonomics accessible to everyone,

the same way. “The percentage of U.S. companies using

don’t bog them down with understanding unnecessary

online learning hit 77 percent in 2017” (Global Industry

and difficult assessment method concepts. Just as we use

Analysists, Inc. 2017). Still, the Center for Creative Leadership

ergonomics to enable employees to have the most impact

says, “research shows that even when video-based training

while working within their capabilities, technology can

is well designed, it is effective only about 20 percent of

function in the same way by automating complex tools and

the time.”

providing simple-to-understand, actionable insights.

The answer to this issue lies in Charles Jennings’ 70:20:10

Mobile assessment methods require far less training than

blended learning approach. Jennings describes how,

pen-and-paper methods, which opens up the possibility of

in high performers, only 10 percent of their skills come

making ergonomics everyone’s job. Instead of just relying

through formal training. Twenty percent comes from having

on a handful of experts across a site or corporation, we can

supportive managers, colleagues and others to help when

begin to both educate and involve everyone in not just

needed, and the lion’s share comes from doing. Those who

interacting with a solution but also developing it.

spend most of their learning time doing consistently outperform others. Practice makes perfect.

DOING One reported difficulty with developing an ergonomics process is determining how to attack the problem of MSD

Once the bones of a solution are developed, having easy, online access to research-based design guidelines removes the trial and error of typical interventions, and tracking inprocess and completed improvements allows ergonomics teams to avoid reinventing the wheel.

risk factors. With hundreds of jobs and thousands of unique


direct causes, there is a need to be efficient and accurate

Software drastically improves assessments and access to

when assessing jobs. The ability to fully leverage a team of trained employees and end with good data and clear, effective interventions continues to be a challenge for many organizations.

data, creates consistency and enhances communication across the organization. Tracking adherence to the process helps companies scale it to fit their needs. Well-designed software guides users to input data in a consistent manner ...continued on next page 11

and enables interpretation of that information without requiring additional training or extensive discussion with process gaps and opportunities and to determine the

How to Have a Resilient, Positive Mindset

best way to address them. The standardized approach

EHS | 06.23.2020 by Stefanie Valentic

the original assessor. As a result, it’s easier to identify

and database then shift valuable collaboration time from sharing issues to solving them. This revolutionized ability to share information gives sites, regions and corporations a central access point from which to retrieve the data in their own time. Ergonomics process owners can easily monitor team activities, track status of improvements, monitor progress to goal and generate custom scorecards that enable them to measure success. Now, not only do we have the numbers, but we can organize them into ways in which everyone can easily and consistently view them. We can take data points and communicate key information while ensuring everyone is interpreting the data reliably, and we can continuously refine the methods of reporting and retrieval to make the data even more accessible over time. Good data provides better information. When you collect and interpret information, you gain knowledge. Knowledge allows you to identify actionable items to help solve problems in an

Switching to a positive frame of mind can boost yourself

effective and efficient manner.

and your business.

While there are many factors that influence the

Neil Pasricha didn’t cut away to what he calls “flashy

success of an ergonomics process, we can control

PowerPoint videos and slides.”

many of them by using technology to improve ease and efficiency. Enabling adults to learn the way they learn best—at their own pace, on their preferred devices and with on-the-floor practice to solidify their theoretical learnings—encourages the “use it or lose it” skills and helps them share what they learn with colleagues. Standardizing an efficient assessment process through structured methods and organizing results into meaningful data enables us to show trends and use the balance of time for value-added problem solving. The ability to track and sort assessments, direct causes and recommendations easily enables teams

The NY Times bestselling author and TED speaker spoke to Safety 2020 attendees about positive psychology and how someone can build resilience during difficult times. Pasricha’s story began ten years ago when he was happily married, working at Walmart as the director of leadership development. One night, his wife asked for a divorce. Upset with the news, he called his friend to discuss the development. The next morning, he received a phone call from his friend’s sister that his friend had died by suicide. Over the next four years, he started a blog called The blog was his way of

to standardize best practices, identify gaps in current

processing the heartbreak mentally and emotionally.

processes and leverage trends and metrics to clearly

He explained, “I was sitting at home alone with a lot of

show the impact of the ergonomics team.

heartbreak asking myself how to get back out there again.”

All of these aspects function together to build an

It took Pasricha years to begin to trust himself again, to

effective, sustainable ergonomics process, which

build up his confidence and to eventually meet somebody

maximizes time on the most important element:

new - his current wife Leslie. When he discovered she was

implementing sustainable improvements to enhance

pregnant with their first child, he began penning a letter to

the lives of workers.

his unborn baby. The letter turned into 300-page novel.


“I tried to channel all the heartbreaks and frustrations I had had over the last few years of my life with everything that I had learned on how to change my own mind into one of positivity,” Pasricha said. As his journey continued and he had two additional children, Pasricha began to notice that something was different about them. He began to research this hypothesis, discovering a spike He told attendees, “Anxiety rates among children and young adults and adolescents are spiking. Depression rates are spiking. Stress rates are spiking. Loneliness rates are spiking. And even suicide rates are spiking. All of


“I will let go of…” “Crystallize and reject from your brain one thing that you are stressed about, worried about or overthinking about,” Pasricha explained. “It gets removed from the subconscious part of your brain.”

Once this occurs, a person can live with less anxiety and more contentment.

these were spiking before the pandemic. We’re facing an unprecedented mental health crisis right now. On top of the stats I was just talking about.” The issue, Pasricha determined, is that many people have not developed tools to handle failure, but there is an urgent need to learn them. One way this can happen is to switch to a positive frame of mind. “More than anything else, we probably know this intuitively on a gut level but when we can do that when we can change our brain into one of positivity and guess what? Our productivity is up 31%. Our sales go up 37%. Our creativity


“I am grateful for…” Research shows that those who write down gratitudes are not just happier, but physically healthier. The key, Pasricha said, is that these need to be meaningful and specific gratitudes.

“It’s human nature – we look for problems, we find problems we try to fix problems,” he said. “If you focus

triples and that’s on top of a whole host of other benefits

your neuropathways on the positive, then you will be able

that we get from being positive,” he said. “Right now it is so

prime your neuropathways for positivity throughout the

hard to be positive.”

entire day.”

Safety 2020 attendees then heard Pasricha’s three ways to ground and center themselves during a time when positivity and resilience are crucial for surviving everyday life.

1. TWO-MINUTE MORNINGS. “How many of you check your cellphone right before bed? How many of you check your cellphone first thing when you get up in the morning? How many people sleep within 10 ft of their cellphones,” Pasricha asked the virtual audience. The answer, according to research, is more than 90%. He drove home the point by adding, “We are all phoneaholics now and we do not see how addicted we are.” A solution to this issue is creating a two-minute morning ritual that happens before a person gets out of bed. After


“I will focus on...” People more than ever are suffering from severe decision fatigue, Pasricha told the audience. They have had to make the decision to wash their hands more often, wash groceries and other preventative safety measures that they weren’t used to before the pandemic.

Writing a specific target of focus “forces you at the beginning of the day to carve a will-do from your endless

waking up, the last thing someone should do is pick up their

could-dos and should-dos.”

smartphone. Instead, it should be placed out of the room

This will enable a person at the end of the day to cross

completely, and a traditional alarm clock should be used.

that item off and to feel like they have moved forward, “a

The next step is to keep a notebook and pen at the

very powerful thing for you to feel, especially as we all go

bedside. Each morning a person should write down the

through this together,” he said.

following three things to get in a positive mindset:


2. HAVE A WEIRD HOBBY. Cognitive entrenchment is the thesis that as a person gets older and does the same roles for a longer time that it leads to mental fragility. Pasricha pointed to research that examined how accountants newer to the profession are better able to implement tax laws compared to those with years of experience. “Their brain gets caught up on how things should be done,” he said. “We are served well when we have a strange, unusual or weird hobby in our lives.” Noble prize winners are doing balloon animals on the side. They’re teaching magic at kids’ birthday parties. Glass blowing. “To him that observes from afar it appears they are scattering and dissipating their energies, while in reality they are channeling and strengthening them” Santiago Ramon Your learning rate is the steepest when you know the least. Increase mental resilience and avoid the mental trap that comes from doing the same thing over and over.

3. GO UNTOUCHABLE. Going “untouchable” can be likened to the concept of intermittent fasting, Pasricha discussed. The longer a person can go without using a cellphone, the greater it will be for their health. Pasricha stressed once again the ever-increasing reliance on cellphones and connectivity. He cited research from Dr. Jean Twenge that found a 30% spike in anxiety rates “due to the ascendance of the smartphone.” “You’re not giving your brain any restful space from the entire flood of the frenetic news media, the endless dings and pings that I’m sure you get from your coworkers or boss, the text messages you might get from your friends or your family,” he told attendees. The best way to combat this issue is to begin plugging the cellphone in areas away from the bedroom and set it on airplane mode. Decide what time to go offline each day and what time to go back online the next morning. “Even the idea that you give yourself a set amount of time to be unplugged will help,” Pasricha said. “It allows your brain to get into the softer more relaxing state it needs to regenerate and recharge for the next day.” Pasricha pointed to studies that show a correlation between unplugging each day and a reduction in stress. He concluded, “if we can do some of these mind-strengthening activities, we can increase our mental resilience. We reduce our mental fragility.” 14