The National Safety Council’s (NSC) mission for the last 100 years has been to educate and influence people on preventing accidental injury and death. NSC originated in occupational safety, followed by transportation safety. It has recently expanded to focus on home and communities. NSC designates June as National Safety Month. There are 130 million workers employed at more than 8 million work sites across the nation. In 2011, close to 3 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported.
One of the leading causes of unintentional injuries are falls that account for 8.9 million visits to the ER annually. Most falls are preventable. Approximately 70% of falls happen on level walking surfaces. Believe it or not, half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall. Most of these fall injuries occur at ground level and not from an elevation. To reduce the risk of fall hazards, be certain to maintain good lighting. Keep walkways clean and clear of clutter. Be certain to use handrails on stairways, including porches. Wear appropriate and sensible footwear. Never stand on objects, chairs or tables to reach a work area.
Small changes can make a big difference to your health and wellness. Healthy eating alone can reduce your risk of chronic illness and disease, including the 3 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, and strokes. Healthy eating choices include making certain half of your plate contains fruits and vegetables, while paying attention to portion size. Exchange surgery drinks for water and choose foods with less sodium. It is recommended that adults participate in 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 days a week. Physical activities help control your blood pressure, manage your weight and stress level, as well as strengthen your heart. Simple activities such as a brisk walk at lunch, working in the yard, taking a bike ride or swimming laps at the pool can help you stay active.
Emergency preparedness is an important part of comprehensive workplace safety program. Reduce social and economic costs of emergencies, criminal acts, crises, and disaster by taking proactive steps. Outline procedures for reporting emergencies. List evacuation routes, weather safe havens, and emergency agendas. Make certain you have a way to notify and account for employees, assign rescue and medical duties, and designated a route to evacuate unsafe/damaged buildings. Steps to return to “normal” operations should also be considered.
Ergonomics is an important aspect at the workplace and involves designing the job environment to fit the person. It is important to take into consideration at work, as well as while working on projects at home. Ergonomics is about learning how to work smarter and preventing conditions, such as overexertion, which accounts for 3.2 million emergency room visits. Poor posture and incorrect body mechanics are two of the leading causes of back and neck pain injury. Conditions can occur from activities at work, such as working on an assembly line or simply typing on a computer. They can also result from activities at home such as playing video games, helping someone move, overuse of the phone and participating in hobbies such as sewing or home repair projects. Many injuries can be minimized or even prevented with the simple A-B-C’s.
- A- Awareness/Adjustment
Be aware of your work environment. Recognize when modifications need to be made and move frequently to avoid muscle fatigue.
- B- Body Mechanics
Remember the basics of good posture- head up, shoulders back, chest our, stomach and rear-end on back straight at all times.
- C- Care/Conditioning
Eat, sleep, and exercise to maintain a healthy body. Stretch, stand up, and walk around frequently.
Be aware of summer safety. In 2006, between the months of May and August, 611unintentional-injury deaths occurred due to heat exposure. Reduce your risk by wearing protective clothing and wide brimmed hats. Carry water with you, drinking every 15 minutes. Take frequent breaks in the shade. Approximately 1.3 million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually. As a preventative, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
The National Safety Council estimates 25% of crashes involve cell phone use while driving. Hands-free devices offer no benefit as your brain is distracted by conversation. Motor Vehicle accidents are the #1 cause of unintentional workplace death. It is estimated that this year more than 33,000 people will be killed on our roadways. Drivers and front seat passengers who buckle up are 45% more likely to survive crashes and 50% more likely to avoid serious injuries. In 2009, 32% of all fatalities involved a driver under the influence at alcohol. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors that include speeding, frequent and unnecessary lane changes, tailgating and running yellow/red lights. There are several things you can do to improve your driving safety. Put your phone on silent or in the glove box to avoid the temptation of using it. Pull over and put the vehicle in park to text or make a call. Wear your safety belt every time you ride in the car and make certain all passengers are buckled up. Designate a non-drinking driver for the evening if you plan on drinking. Keep your emotions under control and don’t take your frustrations out on other drivers.
With June being National Safety Month, please take precautions and make necessary adjustments to avoid unintentional-injury. And remember, small changes can make a big difference to your health and wellness.