Lunchbox Hack – Edition 2

We’re on a mission to improve break time for the American workforce one lunchbox at a time. From the shop to the warehouse to the field, production is powered by people who are fueled by food. We’re sure most of us would appreciate something better in our brown bags. If you missed last month’s lunchbox hack, check it out on our blog page now. But, if you liked what you learned (or you’re just tired of the same old same old), read on to harvest the fruits of our (admittedly delicious) labor.

Lunch Tip

A balanced meal is important, but so is proper rest. It’s no surprise then that most of us pass on packing a proper lunch in favor of one more press of the snooze button every morning. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition though! Pack your lunch the evening before (during other meal prep or clean up) and you’ll always be ready to walk out the door in the morning!

Trick

Freeze your fruits and veggies. Many lunchboxes are insulated (like this classic from Stanley) but most still need something to keep them cool. Ice melts and makes a mess while freezer packs take up space better used for food. If you want to keep your produce fresh, freeze it the night before and use it in lieu of ice. Your lunch will be fresh at break and you won’t have to sacrifice items or eat them soggy.

Recipe

Try this Watermelon, Tomato, and Cheese Salad recipe from Food.com. Watermelon and tomato are both great foods to help you hydrate. This a perfect meal for those looking to beat the summer heat at work too!

 

About the Author

Head shot of Josh Erickson

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate

Beat the Heat!

Heat-related illnesses are a real thing and a big concern both on a personal level and a professional level. If you find yourself working in hot weather or hot environments, whether outside or at your place of employment, the items below are important for you to consider to ensure you stay safe while working.

Symptoms of Heat Stress/Exhaustion/Stroke

  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Hot, dry, skin – an inability to cool the body through perspiration may cause the skin to feel dry
  • Increased heart and respiration rates as blood pressure drops and the heart attempts to maintain adequate circulation
  • Throbbing headache, nausea or vomiting due to dehydration
  • Weakness, fainting, or dizziness – especially if standing position is assumed quickly – due to low blood pressure from dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dark-colored urine – a sign of dehydration
  • Confused, hostile, or seemingly intoxicated behavior
  • Pale or bluish skin color in advanced cases due to constricted blood vessels
  • Seizures or unconsciousness

If you are experiencing Heat Stress symptoms, follow the steps below:

  1. Notify your supervisor immediately. If he/she is not around, notify a co-worker.
  2. Sit down if you’re standing
  3. Move to a cooler or air-conditioned environment
  4. Loosen clothing
  5. Drink water!
heat 1

How to Avoid Heat Stress/Exhaustion/Stroke

Drink Water

A glass first thing in the morning is great for you. Then drink it frequently throughout the day. If you think you’ve had a lot, you can probably have more!

If water gets boring, try the following:

  • Coconut water
  • Add electrolyte powders
  • Add fruit or cucumber
  • Freeze cubes of no-sugar added juice then add to your water
  • Drink hot tea or ice it down
  • Add water enhancers
  • Look for those with limited to no added sugars, limited to no caffeine, and be careful to consider sodium levels, if needed
  • Mix in sports drinks (like Gatorade) but not too many

Avoid and/or Limit These Beverages

  • Pop or Soda
  • Lemonade
  • Energy Drinks
  • Sweet Tea
  • Too Much Coffee
  • Hot Cocoa
  • Beer, Wine, Liquor
  • Flavored Milk

Eat Water-Rich Foods

  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Bell Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Plain yogurt
  • Skim Milk
  • Lower Sodium Broths and Soups
  • Cottage Cheese

Get Rest

It is critical that the body rests and receives an appropriate amount of sleep each evening. This includes taking it easy before and after work as well as ensuring you sleep the recommended 6-9 hours of sleep each evening.

Keep in Mind

  • Sweat cools the body when it evaporates. The more you sweat, the more fluids you need.
  • Check your urine – it should be pale yellow and clear. If it’s darker, you are likely dehydrated.
  • Take cool showers if possible. This limits sweating and thus keeps you hydrated.
  • By the time you’re thirsty, you are already 2% hydrated.
  • Drink hydrating fluids frequently and consistently, rather than large amounts at limited times. This maintains consistent hydration.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of sodium/salt. Sodium acts as a binder and maintains fluids within your body but too much sodium/salt can hold excess amounts of fluids which creates a burden on your hear. It also increase your blood pressure and increase risk of stroke.
  • What you do today affects today, tomorrow, and each day. Be consistent at staying hydrated.

 

About the Author

Picture of Kim Mooney

Kim Mooney, Technical Manager & Coach

Safety – Summer Emergency Kit

The temperatures are climbing. You’re driving from one assignment to the next. You feel the need to be prepared, because your Project Manager always says SAFETY FIRST!  But what does that mean?

In honor of National Safety Month, you’ll find a list of 15 must have items below that you should be carrying with you in your car during the summer months:

  1. A well-stocked FIRST AID KIT
  2. An extra bottle of SUNSCREEN
  3. Something to help you or a fellow traveler out – JUMPER CABLES
  4. In case of a simple fix, have a small TOOLKIT (adjustable wrench, duct tape, a couple screwdrivers, pliers)
  5. REFLECTIVE BLANKET to provide shade but also provides warmth on a cool evening
  6. REFLECTIVE TRIANGLES or ROADSIDE FLARES
  7. Non-perishable SNACKS that can stand the heat
  8. WATER will be useful not only if you get thirsty but if your car overheats
  9. For those occasions when you have somewhere to be but can’t get to the tire shop right away – TIRE SEALANT
  10. TIRE JACK that works with your car
  11. A pair of WORK GLOVES for a better grip when you need it
  12. A FLASHLIGHT or LIGHT SOURCE of some kind – something you don’t have to depend on batteries for (or just be sure to check the batteries regularly)
  13. I don’t know the last time I looked at a MAP or a ROAD ATLAS, but keep one handy in case you’re without service and/or don’t have access to GPS (and make sure you know how to read it)
  14. Have a SPARE CHARGER packed for your phone
  15. Get the information you need during a weather emergency with an EMERGENCY RADIO

Safe travels!

 

Interested in reading more about safety? Check out our post on Reinforcing Safety in Your Workplace.

About the Author

Picture of HR Manager, Beth Bangtson

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Lunchbox Hack – Edition 1

After decades spent in fields, at shops, and on job sites, I know that food options can be limited for those in the trades trying to fuel themselves through yet another long shift. The reality is that S4L (Sandwich, Soup, Salad, Snack, and Leftovers) can get expensive, unhealthy, and boring quickly. But don’t worry, PMG isn’t just about the work; we’re here for you in regards to food too.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with America’s manufacturing workforce, check out our latest webinar (hosted by yours truly) on the importance of healthy habits for those working in manufacturing to learn more. But, the upshot is, starting today, we will provide a monthly recipe, as well as tips and tricks, to help spice up your lunchbox.

Lunchbox Tip

When trying to make a meal-time masterpiece for your next lunch break, it’s important to remember the four E’s:

Effective (as in cost)

Easy (to make)

Exciting (at least kind of, that is the idea here anyway)

health-E (ok, I know I’m stretching it now, but you get the point).

Trick

Sauce it up. You and I both know those celery sticks got packed because your doctor says you need to mix in more fiber, but that doesn’t mean you have to hate it. A little dipping sauce can go a long way and you don’t have to worry about spilling now either with a handy travel ramekin like this one from Kitchen Dance.

Recipe

Checkout this Crunchy Peanut Butter Wrap recipe from Food.com if you want a modern twist on the brown bag classic PB&J for 2020. You’d be nutty not to!

 

About the Author

Head shot of Josh Erickson

Josh Erickson, ReTool & Technical Solutions Associate 

Reinforcing Safety in Your Workplace

I’ve worked in a few manufacturing facilities throughout my career and no matter where I’ve been, management always tooted their horn about how important safety was.  I’ve heard the slogans: ‘No Safety – Know Pain’, ‘Accidents Hurt.  Safety Doesn’t.’, ‘Safety Starts With YOU!’.  I’ve heard the talk, but I haven’t always believed it was as important as it should have been (and I’m certain I wasn’t alone in my skepticism).

PMG’s Summer of Safety Series

While PMG corporate employees aren’t working in a manufacturing facility most days, safety still needs to be a priority for us. This said, we’re taking the summer to turn our focus to the importance of safety in ANY workplace.

So far, we’ve developed an emergency evacuation map, defined tornado shelter space, watched a video preparing us for an active shooter situation, had the Bloomington fire inspectors teach us how to properly use a fire extinguisher, and participated in a self-defense class provided by Krav Maga Minneapolis.

Looking for more information on safety in the workplace, read our article on Dealing with Legalized Marijuana in Today’s Workplace.

Staying Safe During Extreme Heat

As the summer starts to wind down, our focus will be shifting to injuries that our employees have experienced out in the field.  With that, I wanted to take a minute to talk about staying safe during extreme heat (while I dream of snow, comfy sweatshirts, and the LONG winter ahead):

  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes
  • Eat light – the more calories you take in, the more body heat you produce
  • Hydrate and drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Drink at least 8 ounces of fluid per half hour
  • Avoid liquids that contain alcohol, caffeine, or large amounts of sugar
  • Choose the proper type and amount of clothing – cotton and linen allow skin to breathe and absorb sweat
  • Take frequent breaks in shady areas
  • Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher
  • Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outdoors
  • If you take medicines regularly, ask your doctor for advice about hot-weather activity and your risk of getting a heat-related illness
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies

 

Read more on the National Safety Council’s website

https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/summer/heat

 

Enjoy what is left of the summer while it flies by and be safe in the process!

 

About the Author

Picture of HR Manager, Beth Bangtson

Beth Bangtson, HR Manager

Wellness at PMG!

PMG Leadership recognizes we need to have happy and healthy employees in order to meet our company goals. Last year, PMG rolled out a Wellness Program which gives each employee a monthly allowance to go towards any wellness activity in the following categories: physical/mental, career, social, community or financial.

Some great examples of ways current employees utilize this program are as follows; gym memberships, counseling, nutritionist, chiropractor, networking groups, book clubs, sports teams, volunteer events, free Little Library construction, financial advisor, estate/will planning and so much more! This is a great benefit and we encourage every employee to take advantage and sign up!

In addition to a monthly allowance, PMG also gives each employee a Fitbit. This Fitbit is used for healthy competition around the office and to promote activity in-and outside the workplace.  For example, our most recent competition was based on who could get the most steps in Q2. This quarter alone our office walked 8,420,929 steps! We had 6 team members that walked over 500,000 steps.

Our two winners are Kathy, who walked 1,083,981 steps and Wally, who walked 1,018,969 steps! Congratulations to you both!

PMG has seen fantastic results from the implementation of the wellness program. Studies show that promoting work-life balance increases retention rates and productivity of employees. The wellness program has also increased employee engagement. For Q3 the office is competing together in a new step challenge. Since Minnesota is the home of 11,842 lakes, each team member has a daily step goal of 11,842 and 30 active minutes per day. Let the walking begin!