• John Howard, MD, and Kathy Lane

Help Put an End to Preventable Deaths During National Safety Month 2017

The majority of people who die from preventable injuries are in the prime of their lives – raising families and enjoying their careers and active lifestyles. It’s National Safety Month, an opportunity to help prevent these unnecessary injuries and deaths at work, on the roads, and in our homes and communities. This year, the theme Keep Each Other Safe highlights the important roles we all have, not only in our own safety but the safety of our colleagues, friends and family.

Spread the word about National Safety Month to your family, friends and co-workers.

Week 1: Stand Up to Falls:

Falls in the workplace are a persistent, but preventable problem. Recent data analysis from three surveillance systems showed that in 2011, work-related ladder fall injuries in the United States resulted in 113 fatalities, an estimated 15,460 nonfatal injuries that involved days away from work, and an estimated 34,000 nonfatal injuries treated in emergency departments.

Falls from height are the second leading cause of death in the workplace and, according to the CDC, an older adult dies from a fall every 20 minutes. To eliminate fall hazards no matter what setting you are in, keep walkways clear of clutter, wear proper footwear and refrain from distracted walking.

Week 2: Recharge to Be in Charge

Research shows that sleep duration and sleep quality has a direct effect on worker health and safety. Shift work and other work factors may affect a worker’s ability to get enough sleep and have it be good quality sleep as well. Getting enough sleep is important to do your job safely, and there are some jobs where it plays an even more important role in ensuring safety and health. For example, truck drivers, pilots, emergency responders, and healthcare workers to help provide strategies on how to reduce risks from workplace fatigue. An estimated 37% of the U.S. workforce is sleep deprived. Those most at risk work the night shift, long shifts, rotating shifts or irregular shifts. Working against your body clock can lead to fatigue and other health problems, like depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Fatigue also can put you at great risk behind the wheel. With crashes a leading cause of workplace death, we need to be at our best to stay focused. Getting proper sleep is vital to overall worker well being, as well as staying safe at home and on the roads.

Week 3: Prepare for Active Shooters

Workplace violence can range from verbal abuse to physical assaults, including those using a weapon, directed towards an individual at work or on duty and it can have a lasting impact on workers and their families. Workplace violence is something every organization needs to address. Preparing for the worst can be difficult. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a situation with an active shooter, but being prepared can be your best defense. Just as your organization holds regular fire drills, taking time to conduct active shooter drills can help employers protect their workers. It’s also important to know the warning signs of workplace violence to help prevent tragedy from striking.

Week 4: Don’t Just Sit There

U.S. workplaces are increasingly becoming more sedentary, where workers may spend much of their day sitting. This can lead to negative health effects, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risks.

Whether you sit in an office or work on a manufacturing line, working ergonomically is important to preventing injury. This means fitting the job to the worker, rather than the other way around, and practicing good habits. About 80% of Americans will experience a back problem at some point in their lives, according to the American Chiropractic Association. Practicing safe lifting can help keep our bodies in good working condition. If you want to know more about what risks you might be facing, use our free Safety Checkup Tool to get a quick personal safety snapshot based on your age, gender and occupation.

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