Encouraging Employees to Quit Smoking Can Be a Good Investment

Cigarette SmokingWhile the number of people smoking in the US has dramatically decreased in the past decade, there are still millions of smokers who are risking their health and life as a result of their addiction to nicotine. They also could be costing your business real dollars and cents.

According to a survey of more than 29,000 workers by the American Productivity Audit, tobacco use was a leading cause of worker lost production time — higher than both alcohol abuse and family emergencies.

Real Dollars and Cents

One major corporation found that their employees who smoked had more hospital admissions than workers who didn’t smoke: 124 per 1,000 workers vs 76 per 1,000 workers. Smoking employees also had higher average insured payment for health care than non-smokers — $1,145 vs. $762 — during an 11-month period.

If your business is covering some or all of your workers’ health insurance costs, that’s real money coming out of your bottom line.

As of 2014, 28 states have banned smoking in all enclosed public places. Many retail businesses also have banned indoor smoking, including many that most people would normally associate with smokers in the past, such as bars, restaurants and casinos.

Designated Smoking Areas

Yet many companies still allow workers to smoke on their property. Perhaps in the interest of employee relations, many businesses continue to provide employees who smoke either indoor smoking break rooms or outdoor areas where they can light up away from non-smoking co-workers.

Eliminating this employee benefit may be detrimental to employee morale — at least among those workers who still smoke — but companies can help improve the health of their workers as well as boost their own profitability by encouraging employees to quit smoking.

A Low-Cost, High-Profit Investment

Promoting cessation assistance to workers who smoke is one of the most cost-effective benefits you can offer your employees.

Things you can do to improve the chances of your employees quitting smoking include:

  • Distributing a list of local cessation programs
  • Post toll-free hotline numbers such as 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Post the link www.smokefree.gov for quit tips, information, and other free resources
  • Providing free self-help materials
  • Organizing free onsite support groups for people trying to quit smoking
  • Offering free or reimbursed smoking cessation programs onsite or with local health care providers

Initiate the Conversation about Quitting

In some instances, health care providers may even help pay for counseling and medication for smokers trying to quit. Check with a representative of your business’s health care provider to find out.

Creating a dialogue about smoking can also help motivate smokers to make positive changes in their lives. One recent survey found that 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit. Your encouragement may be all it takes to get them to take the next step.




Furnishing Your Break Room to Optimize Worker Satisfaction

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Photo courtesy of Kristin Dos Santos via Wikimedia Commons

Providing a clean, modern and attractive break room is one of the easiest ways to improve employee morale and boost job satisfaction. It also can reduce employee turnover and the associated costs of hiring new workers.

Break rooms are more than simply a place for your employees to eat during their lunch break. They can be the social hub of your workspace, allowing people the opportunity to interact with others and recharge their batteries so they can be more productive when they get back to work.

And now that most states have outlawed indoor smoking, employees can enjoy their break time in a healthier, smoke-free environment.

Choosing the Best Break Room Furniture

When it comes to selecting the best furniture for your employee break room, there are three primary considerations: Size, design and cost.

Size is by far the most important factor. If you furnish your break room with tables and chairs that are too big, or too much furniture for the size of the room, it can have the negative effect of what you intended.

Crowded rooms inhibit the free flow of people, increasing frustrations and compromising the relaxed atmosphere you are trying to create.

Break Room Furniture Design

When it comes to break room furniture design, there are many options to choose from, including picnic-style tables and benches, cafeteria-style seating with permanently affixed benches, booths, and freestanding tables and chairs.

One consideration when making your selection is cleanliness. It’s important that you provide your workers with a break area that is easy to keep clean. Break room furniture that is permanently affixed or is difficult to move could make it harder to keep the break room tidy.

Tables and chairs that are not connected to the floor or to each other also can be moved around, allowing workers to push tables together or arrange their seating as they see fit, which can improve worker morale.

Choose furniture that is easy to wipe clean and features timeless design and neutral colors so they won’t go out of style.

How Much Should You Pay?

The cost of furnishing your break room should be seen as an investment in your employees. Providing a neat, clean, and well-appointed breakroom is an employee benefit. And like other benefits, it can help improve job satisfaction, increasing retention and reducing turnover.

Durable, commercial-grade break room furniture can withstand years of heavy use before needing to be replaced. So your initial investment can be amortized over a long period of time.

Other Break Room Needs

If you aren’t going to provide food service or vending machines in your break room, you can at least offer workers a refrigerator, microwave oven, toaster, and a coffee pot with a hot water spout.

There also should be a sink where dishes, utensils, coffee mugs and storage containers can be rinsed. Cabinets and a countertop will help keep your break room organized and efficient.

Providing a well-appointed break room that is kept clean and orderly shows your workers that you care about their comfort and convenience.



10 Essential Tools No Home Should Be Without

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Photo by Daren via Wikimedia Commons

Whether you are buying a new home or just renting an apartment, occasionally there are going to be small fix-it jobs that you need to do yourself. So every home needs to have a basic set of simple tools so they will be there when you need them.

Don’t Spend a Fortune

It’s easy to spend a fortune in the tool department of your local hardware or home improvement store. But most homeowners don’t really need costly tools for specialized jobs, like electric power saws or drill presses. Instead, you can perform 99% of the small jobs you will encounter around your home if you have these top 10 essential tools:

Instead, you can perform 99% of the small jobs you will encounter around your home if you have these top 10 essential yet affordable tools:

1. Phillips-Head Screwdriver — A Phillips-head screwdriver is probably the tool you will use the most to perform simple household repairs. It’s the screwdriver that has the X shape on its head. You can buy an inexpensive set that features several different sizes for very little money.

2. Flathead Screwdriver — The flathead screwdriver can be used for most other jobs that don’t require the Phillips-head screwdriver. As the name implies, it has a flat head and can be used to remove most standard light switch plates or outlet covers.

3. Tape Measure — The tape measure is one of those tools that you will find yourself using all the time. Look for the kind that can be clipped on your belt and has a retractable tape, rather than the old-school wooden type that folds up.

4.  Level — The level is essential when you are hanging pictures or bolting the frame for your flatscreen TV to the wall. You don’t need a very big one. Look for a level that is small enough to fit into your toolbox but big enough so you can see the little bubble.

5.  Utility Knife — This is another one of those tools that you will find yourself using all the time. Utility knives are handy for opening boxes or bags of dog food, trimming snags from carpets, and even more technical jobs like scoring drywall.

6. Hammer — A hammer is one of those tools you need but you probably won’t use as often as you might think. Obviously, it’s used for hammering and removing nails. But it’s also handy for tapping things into place, such as stuck drawers or cabinet doors.

7. Putty Knife — You probably get most of your use out of your putty knife before you move into your new home. It’s used to scrape dry glue and paints from walls, smoothing spackle, and spreading putty.

8. Pliers — A good set of pliers are something you will use frequently to hold objects firmly, usually when you work with other tools such as screwdrivers.

9. Wire Cutters — You will need a pair of wire cutters to cut wire to the right length and to strip the insulation from electrical wiring so you can make electrical connections.

10. Ladder — Get yourself a sturdy ladder that’s tall enough to reach ceilings,  ceiling fans, lighting fixtures and other high jobs.

These 10 essential tools will get you started so you can perform most fix-it jobs around your home. Keep them all in one place by adding an inexpensive toolbox or tool bag to your shopping cart and you are ready to go.


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Air compressors-what they do and what kind you need

Why do you need an air compressor? If you already know the answer to that question, then what kind do you need? Air compressors come in many shapes and sizes and they are designed for different things. This report will help you choose the right one. There are regular home air compressors and then there are industrial-size units for factories and smaller commercial unit is used by professional painters and mechanics.industrial and domestic applications for air compressors

How do air compressors work?

The fundamentals of different air compressors are the same. An air compressor forces air through a hose and keeps it going in one direction so you can have increased air pressure for different applications. Compressed air is a very powerful force-powerful enough to drive nails, break lug nuts and even lift small elevators.

Practical applications for the homeowner include inflating car tires, basketballs and other odd jobs. Larger units drive air tools and can boost the functionality of hydraulic-based machines. An example of this type would be a small freight elevator in a small commercial building. Smaller buildings might not have conventional elevators for moving freight. A hydraulic elevator avoids the need for ceiling mounted cable-and-motor apparatus and can be driven by an air compressor.

More details about air compressors-what different features mean

  • Most air compressors are electric, though gasoline-powered units are available for use in places where there is no power supply.
  • Air compressors generally have horsepower ratings and CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) ratings. The CFM rates matters much more-it’s the true measure of how powerful the compressor is.
  • Compressors have an air tank. The size of the air tank determines how much reserve power the compressor has. If your work application depletes the back-up air supply faster than the compressor can boost it, then you need a bigger tank or a more-powerful compressor that can keep up with what you are doing. Larger units, of course, will be less portable. Higher CFM beats a bigger tank.
  • Oil and oil-free compressors-which is right for you? Most larger units are lubricated-meaning they contain oil internally like a car engine. There are also oil-free units. Oil-free units are cleaner, especially for jobs such as spray-painting. Oil-lubricated compressors emit a constant, fine mist of oil which can cause trouble in painting applications. In many cases, however, the mist can be channeled into a catch bottle. Lubricated compressors have a longer lifespan and are generally the better choice for heavy, long-term use. The downside to oil-based units is that they can only be used on level surfaces-a luxury in many commercial applications such as construction or drilling. They also require periodic oil changes, a messy job that means downtime. Non-lubricated units are virtually maintenance free.

An air compressor of any size is a sizable investment. Think long-term, since any decent unit will last a long time. It may be better to buy a larger unit and have you operation grow into it. If you’re certain your operation will stay small, than a smaller unit may do the job and save you some cash.


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Popular Mechanics-Air Compressor-How It Works


Bar Code Company Launches Two-Way Radio Product Line

Barcoding, Inc. — a data capture solutions company based in Baltimore, Maryland — has launched a new product line that applies two-way radios to warehouse, industrial and retail operations.

Two-Way Radios by Barcoding uses Motorola Solutions and Vertex Standards two-way radios to help workers communicate more effectively. For example, employees on a warehouse loading dock could use the radios to talk to people in the stockroom, or retail cashiers could communicate with salespeople on the store floor.

Jeff Gillis, Barcoding’s chief financial officer, said two-way radios provide a way for users to communicate instantly so they can save time and money, while providing improved customer service at the same time.

“As a systems integrator,we saw that many of our customers were already using two-way radios to communicate with the four walls,” Gillis said. “Because we supply these customers with Auto-ID and RFID technology, it made sense to expand our portfolio to include two-way radios. Creating this new division gives us the opportunity to provide customers with the convenience of turning to one, single mobility expert for not only automatic data capture technology, but also the latest two-way radio communication devices.”

The new division will also feature customer support from Barcoding’s Professional Services division, which will use the Barcoding GoLive Services model to ensure maximum system adoption for a more streamlined rollout. Once operational, systems will the be supportec by Barcoding’s StayLive Services.

In addition to radios, the company also can provide accessories such as belt clips, holsters, batteries, chargers and audio devices.


Orbis Introduces Lighter, More Stackable Pallet Product Line

Orbis — the Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, based maker of plastic racks, pallets and other materials handling supplies — has introduced a new line of plastic pallets that are both lightweight and easier to stack. The 48X48 Stack’R pallet was engineered for use in the food and beverage, consumer goods, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.

“Due top its versatile design, it can be used in both stacking and lightweight tracking applications,” according to a company news release. Given its lightweight design, it can be used for both lightweight racking and stacking applications.

Made from either polypropylene or polyethylene plastic, the Stack’R is highly versatile and tough enough to be used in harsh environments and extreme temperature variants. It comes in either an open or solid deck. The open design makes it easy to wash, which is important for food and agricultural applications, while the solid deck is convenient for users that don’t have pallet washers.

Unlike wood pallets, the Stack’R’s hard, non-porous plastic construction keeps loads from being damaged by nails, rust or splinters. It also is moisture and odor resistant and has a longer usable life than wood pallets, giving lower per trip costs. And at 540 pieces, it has a higher truckload quantity.

The Stack’R has four-way hand and fork truck entry and includes hand holds for easy lifting. The open deck version also can be ordered with optional FDA approved fire retardant. X-ray detectable or metal detectable materials also are available.

The new pallets are 100% recyclable and weigh between 42.0 and 48.1 pounds, depending on the model.


Oh, Rats – Rodent Control on an Industrial Scale

RodentSeeing a mouse, rat, or other rodent around your house is unsettling, and it makes you wonder what might be hiding where. Rodents can cause all sorts of problems in residential building – the problems they can cause in industrial situations can be just as bad, if not worse. If you suspect rodents of invading your warehouse, you will need to identify the type of rodents and the damage done, determine how to get rid of them, and figure out how to prevent their return.


You might not be able to see the rodents, so you may need to consider the damage that has been done in order to properly identify the source of your problem. Check your wiring and insulation for bite marks, and see if there is feces scattered around. You will also need to determine the area of entry for the rodents, as well as the nest area where they may have made their home. Look for tracks and rub marks, which can include hairs and droppings.

Pest Removal

Killing or removing the rodents is the hardest part of the process. When it comes to this, you have two choices – call in a professional, or go it alone. With a large infestation or a large area of treatment, a professional would be the best bet. A professional exterminator will be able to figure out a plan of attack and identify the proper methods to make sure the large infestation is eliminated, and doesn’t merely move on.

If you plan on going at it alone, there are a number of avenues. Live traps, kill traps, and poison are the common avenues, but each one has its pros and cons. Live traps are the most humane, but they allow the rodent to live and possibly return. They also require constant checking, and if they catch a rodent, you will need to make a trip to dispose of it every time. Poison is the least humane, but is very effective. The problem with poison, however, is that the rats and mice will wander off to die, and a decomposing rodent body will smell quite bad.

Kill traps, such as the snap traps which will break their necks, can be useful, but are not as guaranteed as poison – rodents are bright enough to try and figure out how to get the bait without setting off the trap. Also, using the wrong trap will prove ineffective – a mouse can sneak in under the swing of the bar of the rat trap, while a mouse trap will not be powerful enough to break the neck of a rat.

A newer type of trap is an electrical trap that shocks the rodents to death – fairly humane and effective, and it delivers the shock for up to two minutes, ensuring the rodent is dead. These traps are no-touch as well, so they are perfect for the squeamish folk.

Rodent Deterrent

Once you’ve got the rats, mice, or other rodents out of your warehouse or shop, you need to make sure they stay out. Alternatively, these methods should also be used if you haven’t found a rodent problem yet but are worried about one in the future.

The primary rodent deterrent should be physical barriers to entry. The University of Nebraska has written a thorough text on rodent-proof construction and exclusion methods that will provide steps you should take to keep rodents out.

Secondary deterrents should include bait stations positioned on the perimeter of the property, sonic repellers, traps, and other rodent control products available from your local home store or from a professional pest control company.

Aside from these direct deterrents, stepping up your control inside of your shop or warehouse can help prevent future infestation. Move goods and objects away from walls so you have a pest-control perimeter that you can inspect as needed. Make sure that doors and windows are not left propped open and unattended. Inspect any incoming shipments to make sure the rodents aren’t getting free rides in. Make sure your shop or warehouse sanitation is up to par – clean, debris-free spaces are not favored by rodents.

Cleaning up the Damage

Once you’ve made sure that your rodent buddies aren’t going to be returning any time soon, it’s time to recover, cleaning up any damage that may have been caused. You will want to do thorough a thorough inspection as rodents will get throughout a building easily. Insulation damage can cause heat loss in the building, driving the energy costs up. Rodent-caused electrical fires due to exposed wiring is a major risk, and is something that happens quite often – inspect all of the wiring near the infestation spot for bare areas. If the rodents have damaged any perishable goods, the entire container should be disposed of – rodents can carry diseases that can jump to humans.

So next time you see any rodents in your warehouse or shop, don’t panic. By following our tips, whether on your own or with a professional exterminator, you should be able to bring the infestation under control quickly and prevent it from occurring again. If you haven’t seen rodents, but are worried about the future, get started on prevention today.

Waste Receptacles: Types and Uses

trash binTrash and clutter are the enemy of any efficient business. So having adequate waste receptacles available in your manufacturing or warehouse facility is critical to streamlined and profitable operations.

Waste receptacles, also known as trash cans or waste bins, come in many different shapes, sizes and colors. Some are portable and have two or four wheels while others are stationary. In most cases, portable waste receptacles are made of hard, high-impact plastic. This gives them durability and makes them easier to clean.

Heavier duty waste receptacles, such as dumpster and those that include trash compactors, typically are made of heavy steel. This provides both the support needed to contain large, heavy amounts of trash and gives them a stability that prevents them from easily shifting or moving out of position.

Types of Waste Receptacles

Some waste receptacles are vented to allow for improved air flow. This can be desirable in the case of gaseous refuse or food waste. Others have foot petals that operate a lid that can be opened and closed by the person submitting the trash. These are commonly used in offices, lavatories or public areas where the observance of waste is not wanted.

While two-wheeled waste receptacles, known as “wheelies”, offer both portability and relative stability, four-wheeled waste receptacles can be easily rolled from area to area and are ideal for emptying other waste receptacles and transporting trash to a dumpster or garbage area.

Some waste receptacles have detachable wheels, allowing the trash can to be portable during some periods and free-standing at others, depending on their uses. Detachable wheels also can be fitted onto different waste receptacles, offering versatility and reducing costs.

When Looks Matter

For waste receptacles located outdoors and to be used by the public, a more cosmetic appearance is sometimes desirable. In this instance, steel stone panel receptacles may be the best solution. These are sometimes fitted with domed tops to prevent the trash inside the receptacle from becoming dampened by rain or snow.

Another popular option are waste receptacles made from recycled materials. Some models feature handsome wood paneled sides as well as a domed lid to prevent moisture seepage.

21st Century Waste Receptacles

There are even futuristic waste receptacles that are fitted with motion detectors that open and close the lid automatically whenever a hand or other object is waved in front of it. This type of hands-free waste receptacle offers both convenience and act as a conversation starter. Plus, they can entertain children and pets for hours.

While some waste receptacles come directly into contact with the garbage they carry, this isn’t always desirable when if the trash includes food or waste that is wet or damp. To reduce cleaning and cut down on undesirable odors, plastic trash liners are often placed inside trash receptacles. This allows the easy removal of the trash without causing spillage or debris from coming into contact with the receptacle itself.

Whatever your business’ waste receptacle needs, Bahrns offers a full array of waste receptacles for every application.

Types of Air Compressors for Industrial Applications

industrial and domestic applications for air compressorsAir compressors have multiple functionality. In domestic use, they can be used to inflate basketballs, footballs and other sporting equipment, air mattresses and even automobile and bicycle tires.

In industrial applications, compressed air can be used to operate machinery, for manufacturing operations, for cleaning, for eliminating pollutants from a confined workspace, and many other uses.

There are two major classes of industrial air compressors: Positive-displacement air compressors and dynamic air compressors.

How Air Compressors Work

A positive-displacement air compressor changes the volume of a chamber in order to compress air. Examples include a bicycle pump and a fireplace bellows. An external force is applied to reduce the volume of a chamber, and the resulting buildup of pressure compresses the air until it is eventually extracted.

An type used in industrial applications is the rotary positive-displacement air compressor. These usually come in two types: Helical screw compressors and sliding vane compressors.

A helical screw positive-displacement air compressor uses a helical screw to compress air between a meshing rotating motor and screw assembly. A sliding vane positive-displacement compressor uses a set of sliding vanes fitted into slots on a rotor eccentrically mounted in a cylindrical casing. As the rotor spins, centrifugal force pushes the vanes against the casing wall to compress air between the casing and the vanes.

A reciprocating air compressor utilizes a chamber that is composed of a piston inside of s cylinder. There are two types of reciprocating air compressors: single-acting and double acting.

In a single-acting reciprocating air compressor, only the face of the piston compresses the air inside the chamber. In double-acting reciprocating air compressor, both faces alternate in compressing the air within the chamber.

Dynamic Air Compressors and Their Uses

Dynamic air compressors work by compressing air velocity into air pressure using blades mounted on a rotating shaft. In centrifugal dynamic air compressors, air enters near the base of impeller blades, accelerates down the length of the blade then is expelled near the end of the blades at the circumference of the compressor case.

Another type of dynamic air compressor is the axial-flow compressor, in which air enters and exits along the axis of the shaft, normally by passing through several sets of rotor blades. Each set of rotating blades is spaced from the next via nonrotating stator blades. An example of an axial-flow compressor would be a jet engine on an aircraft.

Single- and Multi-Stage Air  Compressors

Both dynamic air compressors and positive-displacement air compressors can be either single- or multi-stage. Single-stage compressors use only one air compression in the chamber. Multi-stage air compressors use two or more stages, building the output of one stage as the input to the next until they reach their final output pressure.

Which type of air compressor is used for specific industrial applications depends on its individual characteristics, including its flow, pressure, lubrication, and capacity control.

Bahrns features a wide variety of both positive-displacement and dynamic air compressors for industrial applications. With the many different types of air compressors to choose from, you are sure to find the right one for your specific needs.



How to Select the Best Corrugated Box for Your Shipping Needs

How to Select the Right Corrugated Box for Your Shipping NeedsCorrugated boxes represent the vast majority of the packaging industry in the United States, carrying between 90 and 95% of the nation’s manufactured goods to consumers. Approximately 25 billion corrugated boxes are produced annually, an average of 500 boxes for every family in the US.

Part of their popularity resides in their durability. Corrugated boxes are made from two or more sheets of liner board and one or more fluted sheets of corrugating medium. Nearly all the liner boards are made from kraft, which is a type of paperboard created from virgin softwood lumber. About two-thirds of the corrugating medium is made by through a semi-chemical pulping process of virgin hardwood fibers, with the remaining third made from plant waste and recycled medium, which is used corrugated boxes collected from supermarkets and shopping centers.

Read moreHow to Select the Best Corrugated Box for Your Shipping Needs