Injuries are a major cause of disability for people of all ages — and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. The good news is everyone can get involved to help prevent injuries.
During National Safety Month, the goal is to help reduce the risk of injuries. This June, you are encouraged to learn more about important safety issues like prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, and slips, trips and falls.
- Prescription painkiller abuse — Prescription painkiller overdoses are a growing concern in the United States, especially among women. About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose — more than four times as many as back in 1999.
- Transportation safety — Doing other activities while driving — like texting or eating — distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost one in five crashes (17%) that resulted in injury involved distracted driving.
- Slips, trips and falls — One in three older adults falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones and other health problems.
1. Prevent slips, trips and falls. Keeping aisle ways clear; cleaning up drips, spills or leaks; putting down floor mats; and replacing worn flooring are all important in preventing a workplace accident.
2. Eliminate fire hazards. The National Safety Council Supervisors’ Safety Manual includes these precautionary measures for fire safety:
- Keep combustible materials in the work area only in amounts needed for the job. When they are unneeded, move them to an assigned safe storage area.
- Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations away from ignition sources.
- Avoid contaminating clothes with flammable liquids.
- Change clothes if contamination occurs.
- Keep passageways and fire doors free of obstructions. Stairwell doors should be kept closed. Do not store items in stairwells.
- Keep materials at least 18 inches away from automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers and sprinkler controls. The 18-inch distance is required, but 24 to 36 inches is recommended. Clearance of 3 feet is required between piled material and the ceiling. If stock is piled more than 15 feet high, clearance should be doubled. Check applicable codes, including Life Safety Code: ANSI/NFPA 101-2009.
- Hazards in electrical areas should be reported, and work orders should be issued to fix them.
3. Control the amount of dust in your workplace. It is important to keep a dust-free workplace. Hiring an industrial hygienist to test the air quality is recommended at least once per year. Dust accumulation of more than 1/32 of an inch – or 0.8 millimeters – covering at least 5 percent of a room’s surface poses a significant explosion hazard, according to the Quincy National Fire Protection Association.
4. Avoid toxic cleaning products that could potentially harm your employees.
5. Prevent falling objects. Using proper precautions such as netting, toe boards or toe railing can aid in the prevention of a disaster injuring workers or equipment.
6. Don’t text and drive. Consider making this a company-wide policy.
7. Clear clutter from your workplace and store materials properly.
8. Inspect personal protective equipment and tools regularly.
9. Participate in workplace housekeeping frequently and consistently. Keeping records, maintaining regular inspections and walkthroughs, and reporting hazards will help to keep employees safe.
10. Create housekeeping rules and put them in writing. This way, the rules are more formal and defined and colleagues are more likely to stick with them.