Even though June is still roughly six weeks away, the National Safety Council is already encouraging employers across the U.S. to start making the necessary arrangements for National Safety Month, a four-week campaign designed to prevent serious work injuries and illnesses.
For those unfamiliar with National Safety Month, it essentially assigns each week in June a specific safety theme complete with fact sheets, handouts and other materials designed to help employers raise awareness and cut down on the number of injury claims.
"Each June, the National Safety Council encourages organizations to get involved and participate in National Safety Month," reads the association's website. "NSM is an annual observance to educate and influence behaviors around the leading causes of preventable injuries and death."
The four topics being addressed in National Safety Month this year include employee wellness, ergonomics, fall prevention and safe driving.
Interestingly enough, our work comp defense blog has previously explored two of National Safety Month's safety topics in great detail.
Ergonomics, Week 2: While many employers may be tempted to think the issue of ergonomics is confined solely to those who work in office settings, this is not the case. In general, ergonomic issues are classified as "disorders of the soft tissues, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs." Typically, they are caused by working in physically awkward positions for a prolonged period of time, repetitive motions and overexertion.
Accordingly, employees in virtually all industries can suffer serious injuries because of improper ergonomics. The National Safety Council advises employers to inform themselves of the common symptoms associated with ergonomic disorders -- including clicking, swelling, numbness, pain, loss of strength in grip, etc. -- and take steps to ensure that employees' workstations are properly designed.
Fall prevention, Week 3: According to the National Safety Council, over eight million trips to the emergency room here in the U.S. can be blamed on some sort of fall. In fact, many of these falls occur at places of work, where certain risk factors -- not clumsiness -- are to blame.
In order to prevent these kinds of work injuries, the National Safety Council advises employers to consider the following steps:
- Remove clutter from floors and stairs
- Install/maintain quality lightning indoors and on sidewalks
- Purchase non-skid/gripping rugs or floor mats for slippery surfaces
- Secure loose electrical/phone cords that are close to walkways
Stay tuned for further developments in the area of workers' compensation defense law ...
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
Risk & Insurance, "Try weekly plan to increase safety, decrease workplace injuries," Laura Walter, April 19, 2012