Safety In The Workplace

With the kids out of school for summer vacation and construction projects back at full speed in the northern portion of the country, June is National Safety Month.

Since 1913, the National Safety Council has sought to reduce the number of deaths in the workplace. What started as a safety-first movement led by industry’s biggest names at the time has blossomed into a council that boasts more than 55,000 member organizations. The month of June is the NSC’s opportunity to share its mission of spreading safety awareness throughout all areas of American life.

When it comes to occupational hazards, the average work day in the United States produced around 23,000 work related injuries in 2013 according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). That same year, 4,585 people were killed while on the job, a number that has decreased significantly since 2000.

Most Dangerous Jobs

Of fields the federal Occupational Safety & Health Organization (OSHA) has analyzed, healthcare and construction are said to be two of the most dangerous to work in. Obvious hazards exist in healthcare, where the causes of workplace injury or death run the gamut from the possibility of workplace violence to exposure to chemicals or pathogens from working around laboratories to X-rays and radioactive material.

However, what OSHA categorizes as healthcare work influences the numbers. The amount of people potentially affected by these hazards goes beyond doctors and nurses to include staff performing maintenance, food service, laundry, grounds and housekeeping and administrative duties.

Meanwhile, construction presents a plethora of dangers in its own right. According to Forbes, three of the 10 most deadly jobs in America were in the construction industry in 2013. Whether it’s the danger of electrocution, being injured by heavy machinery or suffering a nasty fall, construction workers are essentially surrounded by hazards that threaten their safety daily.

Improving Your Safety

There is no shortage of information available on the Internet concerning workplace hazards and ways to address them. Healthcare, construction and other workers can make use of OSHA’s suite of resources concerning worker safety.

Online courses are available for hospital employees to learn more about safely handling patients as well as safety and health management programs via online courses.

There is also a wealth of information concerning construction safety practices, from working in confined spaces or on communication towers to preventing falls and back-overs with heavy machinery.

For the NSC, the month of June is a time to address worldwide safety in the workplace, while driving, at home and in the community. Each week in June, the organization focuses on a variety safety topics in a different area of everyday life.

The month adds to an extensive NSC catalog of information that includes driver safety training courses, First Aid training and online courses dedicated solely to educating people about health and safety.

The cost of these programs is far less expensive for employee and employer than the cost of sustaining an injury, and safety programs can create a work environment more conducive to attracting and retaining quality employees.

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