June Was National Safety Month: Here’s What You May Have Missed
July 28, 2023
Each June, the National Safety Council (NSC) observes National Safety Month. One of the safety campaign’s primary goals is to highlight the leading causes of preventable accidents in the workplace and at home. Since accidental injuries are the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, the NSC addresses some key safety and health topics each year. This year, the NSC focused on emergency preparedness, slips, trips, and falls, heat-related illness and hazard recognition. Even if National Safety Month slipped your mind, don’t worry: keep reading to find out what you may have missed below!
According to the NSC, 61,105 weather-related events resulted in a total of 974 deaths and 1,667 injuries in 2021. Winter weather, heat, and floods were the deadliest weather-related events that occurred that year. Emergencies and disasters can happen at the drop of a hat, which is why it is a good idea to have an emergency preparedness plan whether you are at home, at work, on the road or even on vacation. The NSC recommends taking the following general precautions that can be useful in an array of emergency scenarios:
- Make sure at least one person knows first aid and CPR
- Download the FEMA app for weather alerts, resources and safety tips. You can access the app here: https://www.fema.gov/about/news-multimedia/mobile-products
- Have a communication plan in place for family, friends and coworkers. Anyone who may need to use the plan should review and practice it regularly
- Have emergency contact’s, family, and other important phone numbers written down or memorized
- Have an emergency kit in your car and at least three days of food and water at home
- Know how to safely turn off utilities
To read more of the NSC’s tips for being prepared in case of an emergency, you can visit: https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/emergency-preparedness/emergency-preparedness-home.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls account for hundreds of preventable deaths and hundreds of thousands of serious, accidental injuries every year. The NSC reports, for example, that 805 workers died in falls and 211,640 sustained injuries so severe that they needed time off from work in 2020. Falls do not have to occur from a high level to be deadly; in fact, 136 of the fatalities that year were workers who fell from the same level.
Limiting fall risks in the workplace and at home is the best way to prevent a dangerous accident from happening. Here are some of the NSC’s fall prevention tips:
- Before starting a job, discuss the task and determine what safety equipment you need
- Ensure adequate training on all related equipment
- Make sure you have level ground to set up equipment
- Use the correct tool for the job and use it as you are intended to (follow all manufacturer instructions and warnings)
- Always keep two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on a ladder
- Wear slip-resistant shoes and do not stand higher than the third rung from the top on a ladder
- Thoroughly inspect all equipment before using. Never use old or damaged equipment
- Keep floors and surfaces free from clutter
- Never stand on chairs, tables or any surface with wheels
- Keep file cabinets and desk drawers closed
According to the NSC, nearly 7 million individuals needed emergency medical treatment for their fall-related injuries in 2020. To read more about how you can prevent falls at work and at home, visit: https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/slips-trips-and-falls.
Although the body is normally able to regulate its temperature, some temperatures are simply too hot for the body to handle safely on its own. The NSC reports that 201 people lost their lives and 67 were injured from weather-related excessive heat in 2021. When a person experiences heat stroke or heat exhaustion, it can lead to major complications like delirium, organ damage and in the worst cases, death. Certain people face higher risks for heat-related illnesses, such as people who work in the heat, infants, young children and people 65-years-old and above, people who are ill, have chronic health conditions or who are on certain medications and people who are overweight.
To prevent occupational heat-related illness, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends:
- Taking time to rest and cool down
- Working shorter shifts until workers have had enough time to adjust to hot temperatures
- Staying hydrated and drinking water before you become thirsty
- Keeping an eye out for individuals who are exhibiting potential signs of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke
Individuals who are experiencing heat exhaustion may exhibit symptoms like pale, ashen or moist skin, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness or exhaustion, headache, dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting and a rapid heart rate. Warning signs of heat stroke include a body temperature above 103 degrees, skin that is flushed, dry and hot to the touch even in the absence of sweating, rapid breathing, headache, dizziness, confusion or other symptoms of an altered mental state, irrational or belligerent behavior and convulsions or unresponsiveness. If you suspect someone is experiencing heat stroke, it is an emergency. Call 9-1-1 to seek medical care immediately. You can read more of the NSC’s heat health and safety tips at: https://www.nsc.org/community-safety/safety-topics/seasonal-safety/summer-safety/heat?
Be it at home or at work, hazard reporting is an essential part of staying safe. The NSC reports that there are four primary types of hazards: chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic. Some of the most common hazards to watch out for include a person’s overall environment, like lighting, noise and temperature, workstation design (such as control and display design, chair design, etc.), movement and repetitions and machine and equipment design. The NSC recommends controlling hazards with:
- Engineering controls. Engineering controls are useful because they can change the process of the environment to eliminate hazards or substitute hazards with safe alternatives
- Administrative controls, like implementing policies and/or procedures to reduce exposure to hazards
- Maintaining safety procedures, like providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce coming into contact with known hazards
- You can read more of the NSC’s hazard recognition tips at: https://www.nsc.org/getmedia/0dc549f9-3f2a-4262-878d-7f2e2df3cae9/hazard-st-english.pdf.
Even when you prioritize health and safety, accidents can still happen. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important to limit known dangers and promote safety in the workplace and at home. If you have questions or concerns about an injury you sustained and would like to speak with an attorney about filing a legal claim, someone at our firm can help. To learn more, contact a representative online now.
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If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.