June is National Safety Month, which, according to the National Safety Council, is a dedicated annual observance that “focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death, at work, on the road and in our homes and communities.” The topics of focus in 2019 are Hazard Recognition; Slips, Trips and Falls; Fatigue; and Impairment.
Hazards are always present even thought they may not always be apparent. Learning to spot hazards requires anticipation of the possible results that might come of taking a certain action. Doing a walkthrough and considering the potential dangers of objects, particularly in the hands of children or in an area accessible to pets, can help you determine what could be a hazard.
Here are some common, but often overlooked, hazards that you might find in the workplace or at home:
- Lighting: Burnt out bulbs or dim lighting can cause difficulty in spotting other hazards.
- Temperature: Dress appropriately for the weather and tasks you will be participating in and keep an eye out for slippery conditions that might exist.
- Air Quality: Make sure that exhaust is running to a properly ventilated area.
- Overexertion: Know your limits and stick to them. If you are feeling like a task is causing your body stress or pain, let someone who can guide you on proper form or take over know.
Whenever you spot a hazard, be sure to fix the issue – or contact someone who can – as soon as possible and communicate the hazard to others in the vicinity.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common hazards and they can cause serious injury. The first step in preventing these incidents is awareness of hazards, as we discussed above. Paying attention to hazards around you, warning others of these hazards, and fixing the issue are often enough to keep everyone safe. Here are a few housekeeping tips from Safety+Health Magazine to keep some common hazards from causing issues:
- Keep floors clean of debris by sweeping and mopping
- Remove objects from walkways and stairs
- Clean spills immediately
- Secure mats, rugs, or carpets that don’t lay flat or slide on the floor
- Keep drawers closed
- Cover cables that cross walkways
- Keep walkways and work areas well lit
According to the National Safety Council, the recommended amount of sleep for the average adult is 7-9 hours per night. If you are not getting this much sleep, especially on a regular basis, you are likely suffering from fatigue.
It can be hard to fit everything into our day and sometimes falling asleep is difficult, but not getting enough sleep can seriously affect your health and safety. The National Safety Council points out that even losing small amounts of sleep can cause fatigue, which can “lead to decreases in cognitive performance, vigilance, accuracy, and judgment,” all of which we need to stay safe on the roads and in our day-to-day lives.
And if you are feeling fatigued, what can you do to try to improve your sleep environment and get more sleep? The National Safety Council suggests utilizing the A.C.E.S. acronym to remember the following tips:
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can interrupt your natural circadian rhythm and cause snoring, sleep apnea, and poor sleep.
- Caffeine: Drinking caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns and should be avoided for as long as six hours before bedtime.
- Environment: Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
- Screens: Blue light from screens can keep your body from producing the melatonin hormone that helps you to relax and should be avoided for at least 30 minutes before bed.
Impairment is a state in which a person is diminished or weakened and can be physical, mental, or emotional. Impairment can be caused by sleep deprivation, emotional stress, anxiety, alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs or illicit drugs among other things. Each of these can impact each person differently and even small amounts can cause a high enough level of impairment to be dangerous.
Some types of impairment are subtler that others but working or driving while impaired are not safe for the party who is impaired or anyone else around them. Learning more about impairment, what causes it, and how to know when you are impaired can help you make smart choices that keep everyone safe.
Though we’ve covered some basic information and tips surrounding these safety issues, we will continue to share information throughout National Safety Month on our AssuredPartners Colorado social media outlets so be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
“June is National Safety Month”, National Safety Council.
“National Safety Month Free Materials” , National Safety Council.
“Prevent Same-Level Slips, Trips, and Falls”, Safety+Health Magazine.