June is National Safety Month—a month-long celebration dedicated to raising awareness and keeping Americans everywhere safe. It’s safety not only at work but at home too. No matter where you are or what you are doing, there is always a risk or something going wrong. In an effort to mitigate this risk, we are going to discuss some important aspects of safety in this blog.

The number of traumatic injuries treated in the ER nearly doubles during the summer. Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 40, but there are many things people can do to stay safe and prevent injuries. Make a difference. Spread the word about ways to reduce the risk of injuries. Encourage your employees (and your family as well) to identify and report safety hazards. Always be on the lookout for potential issues. If you see something, say something.

While safety should be practiced throughout the entire year, National Safety Month is a good time for employers and workers to commit to identifying and appropriately addressing preventable injuries in the workplace. Each year, NSC chooses four safety topics to focus on for the month of June. Each week is then dedicated to exploring those topics in detail.

The topics for National Safety Month 2019 are: Hazard Recognition, Slips, Trips, and Falls, Fatigue, and Impairment.

Hazards

One of the biggest causes of workplace injuries and incidents can be traced back to hazards not being identified and dealt with. Hazard recognition may seem simple when it comes to construction or road work sites, but everyday office items and situations such as heavy boxes, open desk drawers, loud noises, and even hot coffee pots are easily ignored and potentially hazardous. If you see a potential hazard, you need to tell someone who can take care of it before an accident occurs.

It can become habitual to overlook potential hazards, especially when in a familiar workplace. You know your surroundings and don’t pay as much attention as you would if you were in a new environment. It’s important to stay vigilant and always try to notice things that may be out of place.

In a publication titled Visual Literacy: How “Learning to See” Benefits Occupational Safety, by the Campbell Institute, it states that, “being more visually literate allows individuals to perceive and understand more about their work environment, enabling them to see hazards and imagine the potential consequences that can result from those hazards.”

Slips, Trips, and Falls

According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry; however, slip, trip, and fall hazards can be found in every workplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that fatal falls across all industries are, “at their highest levels in the 26 years since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking workplace fatalities.”

The potential for these incidents exists when unintended or unexpected changes occur between the feet and the walking surface. Some examples include loose rugs, items blocking pathways, and wet walking surfaces.

The best way to prevent these hazards is to practice good housekeeping. Employees are much less likely to slip and fall at the jobsite when floors are kept clear of debris, mats are secured and lying flat on the ground, and working areas and pathways are well-lit.

Additionally, employers must make sure they are providing access to adequate personal protective equipment that may mitigate the risks of slips, trips, and falls for their employees. According to CDC, food services workers who were given 5-star-rated slip-resistant shoes by their employers saw a 67% reduction in slip injuries over workers who brought their own slip-resistant shoes.

Fatigue

Often used to describe a lack of energy or overall tiredness, fatigue is more than just feeling drowsy. Fatigue interferes with normal daily activities and can have serious impacts on workplace health and safety. It is estimated that 13% of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue.

Fatigue typically comes from not getting enough sleep, which the National Sleep Foundation specifies is seven to nine hours each night for adults. According to CDC, a third of adults in the U.S. report that they usually do not get this recommended amount of sleep.

For National Safety Month 2019, Sunflower Home Health wants you to remember the acronym A.C.E.S. to those suffering from poor sleep. A.C.E.S. stands for:

Alcohol: can interrupt sleeping patterns and cause various additional sleep issues such as snoring and sleep apnea; although alcohol can cause initial drowsiness, the sleep that comes with it is less restful overall

Caffeine: to be avoided altogether before bedtime, with some research suggesting that even one cup of coffee six hours before bedtime had “significant effects on sleep disturbance”

Environment: should promote relaxation and sleeping through maintaining low-light levels, comforting smells, and a cool temperature; by creating a sleep-friendly environment, deep sleep is easier to attain

Screens: can prevent the body from producing melatonin, a hormone that aids in relaxation and sleep; it is best to turn off the television and put down the cell phone at least 30 minutes before bed

Impairment

Impairment can be caused by substances and situations that may impede a worker by producing serious barricades to workplace safety that may lead to dangerous situations. In order to stay safe at work, workers need to be healthy and focused.

Worker impairment can come in many unexpected forms and can be situational, such as exposure to extreme temperatures or cases of workplace harassment; however, the most common workplace impairments come from alcohol abuse and drug misuse.

Alcohol impairment starts with the first drink and can have consequences long after the last drink, especially in the workplace. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 8.7% of America’s full-time workers drink heavily on the job at least once a month. The same study found mining and construction to be the industries with the highest rates of heavy-drinking employees.

Additionally, many prescription drugs like opioids can impair employees’ abilities to work or drive safety. And with high rates of opioid overdose deaths occurring in physically demanding industries, employers are encouraged to reach out to their employees if they suspect drug misuse is occurring on or off the worksite.

If you have any questions about how you can make your home or workplace a safe environment for you, your family, and you co-workers, please don’t hesitate to navigate to the contact us form and reach out or give us a call at your local office.  Those numbers are listed below:

Charleston – (662) 647-0653

Clarksdale – (662) 624-4141

Cleveland – (662)756-4676

Greenwood – (662) 455-3535

Grenada – (662) 294-0726

Indianola – (662) 887-1518

At Sunflower Home Health, we truly believe that education and awareness are the keys to making the Mississippi Delta a healthy and safe place to live, something that we are committed to making a reality.

Call Now Button