The National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit organization with a mission to save lives by preventing accidental injuries and deaths, has designated June as National Safety Month. The goals of this annual observance are to educate individuals, corporations and institutions on the leading causes of preventable deaths and injuries, and to help influence behaviors to reduce these accidents.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Safety 24/7.” By this, the NSC hopes to promote the fact that accidents with injuries and deaths are not limited to the workplace. In fact, in the U.S., there are far more accidental deaths annually outside the workplace than are work-related.
In addition to the 2012 theme, each week in June has a special topic to highlight critical safety issues:
June 3rd – 9th: Promote Employee Wellness
Improvements in wellness can help reduce absenteeism, improve productivity, and enhance your employees’ personal and professional lives. Even small changes can make a big difference. If employees make healthy choices to eat better, quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption and engage in more physical activity, it’s possible to reduce the occurrences of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even some forms of cancer. The NSC website (week 1) has free information such as a wellness fact sheet and employee quiz.
June 10th – June 16th: Work Ergonomically
Ergonomics is the study of the workplace as it relates to the worker. However, there are ergonomic situations to consider at home also, such as home offices, hobby areas or working on projects. Education is the key to working smarter, and preventing conditions such as overexertion and repetitive stress. Ideally, the work environment should fit the individual. You can find an ergonomics fact sheet and employee quiz at the NSC website (week 2).
June 17th – June 23rd: Prevent Falls
Statistics show that falls are the third leading cause of workplace deaths in the U.S. Most falls are preventable! Many risk factors exist at work and also at home, including physical hazards such as poor or unsafe surface conditions, age-related issues and health situations. The NSC website (week 3) has ideas to educate your employees and reduce your risk, and to find fall hazards in your workplace and home.
June 24th – June 30th: Drive Safely
The NSC highlights safe driving in the last week of National Safety Month, and its week 4 website has free information that can be used in an employee education program. Safe driving is an important priority for everyone, and especially for those employees whose job requirements involve driving cars, trucks or other machinery. With increased summer traffic, it’s vital to avoid cell phone use and other distractions while driving. Keep other safety factors in mind, such as safety belt use for both drivers and passengers.
In addition to specific information for each week’s theme, the NSC website has a free poster that can be downloaded and used to promote the idea of workplace and home safety during June.
Don’t forget that your EAP provider can be an invaluable resource for you on the subject of employee wellness. Reach out to your EAP contact to solicit their suggestions for on-site health screenings, wellness education and training, health fairs and activity tracking.
Of course, workplace and home safety education should not be limited to the month of June. Make a commitment to emphasize safety at work and at home for your increased safety, as well as that of your family and your employees.