The start of June marks the beginning of National Safety Month. Each year, the National Safety Council (NSC) takes a month to emphasize the importance of safe practices in the home, on the roads, in the workplace, and within the community as a whole. Many people don't realize how dangerous some very commonplace practices can be. Simple things like looking at who liked your latest Instagram post when you are driving, not wearing a helmet while riding a bike around the neighborhood, or skipping out on safety glasses when working with heavy machinery, can lead to serious accidents and injuries. It just takes one poor safety decision to dramatically change, or even end a life.
Since, National Safety Month is a month long, each week concentrates on a different safety topic. The first week of National Safety Month focuses on emergency preparedness, to remind people that emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime. It is important to be prepared for any emergency situation, from an active shooter to a tornado to a heart attack. For example, according to the NSC, approximately 10,000 cardiac arrests occur each year, but only 45% of United States employees are trained in first aid. According to EMS Safety Services, a, “corporation that provides instructor training and support internationally,” 70% of heart attack deaths occur before the victim reaches hospital. Learning first aid can help keep the victim alive until medical professionals are able to treat the patient.
Week 2 of National Safety Month focuses on wellness. Many of our day to day practices, such as lack of physical activity or not getting enough sleep, can put strain on our bodies. Therefore, the NSC reminds people to take a step back from their busy lives and care for their bodies by making healthy choices. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating an apple instead of potato chips, taking time throughout the workday to stand up and stretch, and getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night are all healthy choices that lead people to being more alert and help avoid accidents.
The third week of National Safety Month alerts people to the dangers of slips and fall accidents, and how to prevent them. The NSC states that over 9 million preventable slip and fall injuries occurred in 2016. That is more slip and fall accidents than the entire population of New Jersey! In the workplace, approximately 800 slip and fall deaths occur, many of which can be prevented by following the correct safety procedures at all times, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 700 of these workplace accident fatalities occurred when someone fell from a higher level to a lower level. Patrick Kapust, the director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Program, revealed at a presentation of the Top 10 OSHA violations, that improper fall protection is the most commonly cited safety violation, with 6,887 violations in 2017 alone! This is a shocking statistic considering that slip and fall injuries are the easiest to prevent, by doing simple things such as cleaning up spills and taking precautions when climbing ladders.
Finally, Week 4 of National Safety Month focuses on safe driving practices. Out of the 4,000 workplace fatalities each year, 2,000 are caused by car accidents. Distracted driving is a leading cause of these car accidents. As a result, some companies, such as Cargill and Union Pacific, have created policies banning people from talking on the phone while driving to prevent distracted driving car accidents. However, it is the driver’s responsibility to follow these safety rules and precautions. That’s why National Safety Month takes a week to remind everyone why they should put their phones and other distractions away and focus on the road, and practice safe diving each and every day.
The NSC created National Safety Month in order to decrease the number of preventable deaths that occur each year. Ignoring simple safety precautions may seem like no big deal but it can create an unsafe environment for not only the rule breakers themselves, but for everyone around them. In order to reduce and prevent workplace injuries and deaths, people should take heed of the NSC’s safety instructions. After all, the best way to save lives is to prevent them from being in danger in the first place.
Workplace accidents and injuries are much more common than people realize. It is easy to brush off seemingly inconsequential safety practices, when we are not aware of the dangers of poor safety. To combat workplace injuries, distracted driving car accident fatalities, and other accidents due to unsafe practices, the NSC spends the month of June reminding everyone of the importance of safety at work, at home, and everywhere in between. If you or a loved one have experienced a workplace injury due to unsafe working conditions, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM. Our attorneys fight for the rights of Michigan’s injured workers.