National Safety Council provides resources for National Safety Month.
The National Safety Council sponsors National Safety Month every June. This year, the organization is helping people focus on everyday things that pose real threats to safety and health. The theme this year is "What I Live For."
Every year, the NSC picks specific topics companies can focus on weekly to drive home a safety message. This year, those are prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, ergonomics, emergency preparedness and slips, trips and falls.
Prescription Painkillers Abuse
Continuing a theme from last year about prescription drug abuse, the NSC this year is focusing on prescription painkillers that contribute to more deaths than all illegal drugs, killing 44 people every day. “If you must take prescription painkillers, ask your doctor for the smallest dosage possible for the shortest amount of time,” says NSC’s fact sheet. “You can become addicted to prescription painkillers in as few as five days.” Chemically similar to heroin, they can also affect your ability to drive and work safely.
The NSC suggests talking to your doctor about these conditions that can increase your risk of abuse:
- Any personal or family history of addiction
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Sleep apnea
- Chronic constipation
Painkiller abuse is growing among young people, so they also suggest talking to your children and keeping your prescription drugs safely stored.
Car crashes, the leading cause of unintentional death, kill about 100 people a day. About 26 percent of crashes involve cellphone use, which is illegal in some states. Among NSC’s recommendations:
- On the road, off the phone
- Get plenty of sleep
- Never drive after drinking
- Drive the way you want your fellow motorists to drive
Most of us, about 80 percent, will suffer a back problem at some point.
- Stretch so your body gets warmed up
- Keep your back straight and bend your knees – remember to never twist or bend your back
- Make sure you’re on solid ground with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Keep the object close to your body
- Lift with your legs, not your back
- Limit the amount of weight you carry – it’s better to separate boxes or make two trips than to carry too much
- Ask for help to carry heavy, bulky or large loads
- Keep pathways clear of tripping hazards
In the office
- Chairs should have proper lumbar and arm support and be adjusted for height
- Keep feet flat on the ground or on a footrest
- Viewing distance from your eyes to the monitor should be at least 18 inches
- Keep your keyboard and mouse at approximately elbow height
- Lighting should be sufficient so you don’t have to strain, but not too bright where glare is an issue
- Use proper accessories, such as a document holder or phone headset, if necessary
Every business should have an emergency plan, of course. But every person should be prepared as well. NSC says you can protect your family with an emergency kit for disasters like floods and tornados we’ve seen in communities across the nation this year:
- Water (1 gallon per person, per day, for at least three days)
- Nonperishable food for at least three days and a can opener. It’s best to keep protein-packed foods you can cook without electricity and have appropriate food for everyone in your family, including infants and pets.
- Hand-crank radio or battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First aid kit with the basics, such as gauze, tape, etc., and emergency reference material, such as NSC First Aid quick guide
- Toolkit with scissors and basic tools
- Hand sanitizer, moist towelettes and garbage bags for sanitation
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape – in case a window breaks or you get a leak in your roof
- Whistle to help rescuers locate you
Slips, Trips and Falls
The majority of workplace injuries are related to slips, trips and falls and they account for more than 17 percent of disabling occupational injuries, according to OSHA. To reduce workplace hazards, NSC says:
- Secure electrical and phone cords away from traffic areas, such as hallways
- Use non-skid rugs and be sure to tape them down to prevent rolling
- Keep drawers and cabinets closed at all times
- Be sure to wear the proper footwear for the job, paying special attention to outdoor conditions
- Clean up any spills immediately and include warning signage
- Refrain from walking distracted – stay focused on your surroundings
- Ensure there is adequate lighting in workspaces
- Don’t carry too much – you need your arms to maintain balance and stability
Support materials such as posters, checklists, and fact sheets are available in English and Spanish from the NSC website (nsc.org) by clicking on “act” and then “safety events.”