October 30, 2017

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
The MSGIA-WCRRP tracks injuries from slips and falls in an effort to eliminate those types of perils from the workplace.  During the last five years, the Great Falls Schools reported three hundred fifty-eight (358) slips and falls.  These claims are reserved at $584,219.50.  In an effort to prevent these claims, the following prevention tips have been provided:
  • What you put on your feet in the morning may determine what kind of day you will have! As silly as it is, the right pair of shoes changed Cinderella’s life!   
  • Wear shoes with good traction.
  • In the winter wear the “safe” shoes to school and change into another pair after you are in the building.
  • Wear personal traction devices such as Yak Trax, Ice Grippers, etc. to help keep you on your feet during wintery conditions.
  • Most accidents occur during the winter months between November and Aprilwhen staff are walking from their vehicle to the building.
  • Be very careful getting in and out of your car. Turn in the seat to ensure that both feet are firmly planted on the ground before trying to stand. You can use the vehicle to stabilize yourself if need be. When getting in the car, sit your bottom on the seat, then turn your feet into the vehicle so that you don’t slide on just one foot.
  • Pay attention to the conditions such as walking surfaces and report any uneven surfaces that need fixing.
  • Avoid the rush by taking the shorter route across the snowy lawn or hill.  That “shortsighted” decision will eventually result in a trip to the nurse’s office, medical clinic or emergency room.
  • Walking normally in icy and snowy conditions will eventually end in a slip and fall injury. Widen your stance a bit and walk more deliberately like a duck.
  • While working above the floor use the appropriate ladder.  DO NOT stand on chairs!!!
  • Correct tripping hazards:  Don’t run cords in the aisle way, keep walking areas clear, and clean up spills.
  • Report and replace lights that are burned out in the classrooms, hallways and parking lots.
  • The District should establish and implement an effective snow removal process to address clearing parking lots, sidewalks and spreading deicer and sand.
Make a promise to yourself and the District to practice safe and smart choices by using a step stool, wearing proper shoes and eliminate injuries caused by slips and falls within the district. 
Remember workplace safety is everyone’s job!
Let’s have a safe school year!


Preventing Strain or Injury by Accidents

Preventing “Strain or Injury By” Accidents

Remember you have control.  
Great Falls School employees are known for being conscientious about school safety.  Let’s make a choice to lower the number of bodily motion claims this school year. 

“Strain or Injury By” injuries may potentially occur when the body is in motion due to improper lifting, carrying, turning, reaching, pulling pushing, etc.  When an employee sustains a bodily motion injury the recovery can often times be painful and costly. 
Great Falls Public Schools has reported one hundred eighty-seven (187) “Strain or Injury By” claims.  Those accidents are reserved at $637,605.12.  This amount of money could have gone along way in assisting the District when dealing with funding shortages.

Here are some ideas to help prevent injury:
  • Check the weight of the load with a “trial” lift
  • Stand square to the load and get as close as you can.
  • Keep your legs about shoulder width apart for good balance.
  • Bend the knees and hips, not the back.
  • As you start the lift, raise your eyes and look ahead. This will keep your spine in correct alignment.
  • Push with the hips and legs to lift  the load.
  • Put the load down by reversing the actions used to lift the object.
  • Always use equipment such as handcarts, dollies, etc. to assist if it is available.
  • Carry loads close to the body, preferably at waist level.
  • When the weight of the load is unevenly distributed, make sure the heaviest portion is closest to the body.
  • While putting loads down, when possible, place the load on shelves or other surfaces at waist level.
  • If possible, place the heavy loads close to the ground and light loads up slightly above waist level.
  • When two or more people carry a load, one person should act as the leader. Be sure that you can see where you are going.
  • Put yourself on the same level as the load you are going to move.
  • Move in the direction of the turn with your feet and legs.
  • DO NOT twist at the waist.
  • Step in the direction of the turn

PUSHING an object is better for the back than PULLING an object.

Password Policy – What is Changing?

                                           October 19, 2017

What Is Changing?

What: Implement a strong password policy
When: Effective November 15, 2017
Why: In order to protect confidential data and business operations, having a strong Information Security policy is required. There are many layers to Information Security and one of the most basic and best practices is a strong password policy. A strong password consists of:
  • complexity (3 of the 4 following criteria)
o   upper case
o   lower case
o   numbers
o   special characters
  • minimum length 8 characters
  • restricting reuse of old passwords (not last 3)
  • and periodic expiring and entering a new password annually
Who: All individuals (staff & students) who log into the GFPS domain and who have not changed or reset their password in the last year.
How: At end of day, November 14, 2017, the Data Center will set the new password policy. The next time an individual logs into the GFPS domain, the password will be evaluated to see if it has been changed or reset within the last 365 days. If not, the individual will be prompted to enter a new password using the rules listed above. If the password meets the policy rules, you will be asked to re-enter to confirm. Users must log into a Microsoft Windows pc or laptop to change their password. You cannot change your password on an iPad or Chromebook.
When changing your Active Directory password, the password will also automatically be changed for:
  • Email (and Webmail)
  • Google Drive
  • Office 365
  • Moodle
  • iVisions
  • SharePoint
  • Helpdesk
All other systems will NOT be affected by this password change, such as PowerSchool, SuccessMaker, Typing Pal, ThinkCentral, Mileposts, NWEA, AESOP, PIR eCentral, etc.
Generic logins for labs at the elementary level will not be affected by this policy.
Recommendations: The new password cannot contain any part of your name. A good practice is to use a phrase that you can easily remember, i.e. Ilike7up. Another option would be to take a word or phrase you can easily remember and replace e with 3, i with 1, o with 0, or s with 5 and then capitalize the first letter, i.e. Supportit = Supp0rt1t. A strong password is only as good as you keep it confidential. Under no circumstances should staff share their password. At the elementary level, it is permissible for students to share their password with their teacher but they should also be instructed not to share with other students.
New accounts: After November 14, 2017, all new accounts will have the following format – P******s where ****** is the same identifier we have always used.
Contacts: Tom Hering, Bob McGregor, IT Help Desk