It Takes All Of Us

National safety month focuses on continuous risk reduction across industries.

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Safety: It takes all of us” is the theme of 2014’s National Safety Month. This year, the National Safety Council is promoting the key safety pillar of involving everyone in identifying and reporting hazards in the workplace.

NSC has also selected five weekly topics employers can use to build safety awareness:

Week 1 - Prevent prescription drug abuse

NSC cites statistics of the Centers for Disease Control showing that more than 15,000 people die every year from overdoses of prescription medicines; pain relievers contribute to more deaths than all illegal drugs. “Many users of pharmaceuticals do not confine their use to inside their homes or only during their non-work hours, leading to increased risk of impairment while driving or in the workplace,” says NSC in a white paper.

NSC suggests these actions for employers to help reduce the risk of prescription abuse on the job:

  • Educate employees.
  • Expand use of drug testing to include prescription drugs.
  • Modify health insurance policies and agreements that may contribute to over-prescribing.
  • Develop new processes to monitor use and misuse of drugs involved in worker’s compensation claims.

Week 2 – Stop slips, trips and falls

A focus on slips, trips and falls is no surprise since that category is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace, accounting for one in every six lost-time injuries and 15 percent of accidental deaths, according to OSHA.

Week 3 – Be aware of your surroundings

Situational awareness is part of hazard identification that is covered by various OSHA regulations, including a general safety provision that states, “It shall be the responsibility of the employer to provide for frequent and regular inspections of the job site, materials, and equipment by competent persons…” and requires employee training in the recognition, avoidance and prevention of unsafe conditions.

Week 4 – Put an end to distracted driving

Distracted driving has been a growing safety concern as companies try to balance safety with the increased productivity available through technology. OSHA has encouraged employers to ban texting while driving, and many states have already done so. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has banned both texting and hand-held cellphone use for commercial truck drivers since 2010 and 2011.

Week 5 – Summer safety (overexertion/heat stress)

OSHA began its Heat Illness Prevention Campaign in 2011 to educate people about the dangers of working in summer heat. Thousands of workers are sickened every year from heat; 60 workers died in 2011, according to OSHA. Water, rest and shade are key to safety in hot weather, it says, and offers these recommendations:

  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Rest in the shade to cool down.
  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing.
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency.
  • Keep an eye on fellow workers.

There is a good month of safety topics. Safety agencies such as OSHA and NSC offer plenty of information online you can use to plan safety meetings and tailboards. Take advantage of them, and make your workplace safer.


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