We are just about to run out of “month” before we run out of observances! For those of us in the safety business, injury prevention is important every day! As OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states, “we are all about getting to dangerous workplaces before injuries happen that can kill or injure workers.” Employers are expected to meet the standards that OSHA has set to prevent their workers from risking life and limb.
According to a survey from 2000, every year 50 million people are hurt severely enough to require medical treatment. Most injuries that require medical care are preventable. The costs from U.S. injuries in 2000 were $406 billion, $80 billion in medical treatment and $326 billion in lost productivity. Consider what the costs were in 2010. Falls and vehicle crashes cause approximately two-fifths of the injuries and lost productivity costs from injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control emphasize that we must prevent injuries from happening in the first place. One of the effective methods of keeping teen drivers safer is the Graduated Drivers’ Licensing program. This allows high-risk teen drivers to get initial driving experience under low-risk conditions. Studies show that in the United States, approximately 11 teens die in car crashes every day.
Brain concussions in youth sports in the United States are a high priority concern at this time. The nation’s first sports concussion law, the Zackery Lystedt Law, was enacted in the state of Washington in May, 2009. Named for a young athlete who was permanently disabled after sustaining a concussion in 2006, this law requires parents and athletes to read and sign a concussion information sheet before the beginning of each sports season. It states further that athletes participating in school sports who show signs of a concussion be removed from practice or play, and if a player is injured and removed from the game, permission from a licensed health care provider is required before the athlete is allowed to play. This can have a huge impact on improving the safety of young athletes.
Violence prevention and injuries such as motor vehicle crashes, homicides, domestic violence, neglect of children and drug overdoses are part of the tragedies that we hear about every day. Many of these events that lead to injury are predictable – therefore, they are preventable, as we said earlier. Older adults and children are most vulnerable to sustaining injury that requires medical attention. Injuries and violence affect us all. Research shows that three-fourths of all deaths in young people are the result of injuries and violence.
Whatever the reason, we should all take strides to improve our safety record by paying attention to what we are doing. In the workplace, accidents happen, and some may be unavoidable, but most are caused by inattention, carelessness or faulty equipment. Workers have the benefit of protecting their bodies with personal protective equipment, or PPEi safety products. The choice of the right PPE for the particular job is made by the employer. Then it’s up to the worker to wear it correctly. Workers can be covered from head to toe, and many jobs require it all – from steel-toed boots, coveralls, gloves, safety glasses, earplugs, to hardhats. PPE is the last line of defense that protects workers.
We can also choose protective products for work, at home, or in the garden. Athletes must wear equipment that keeps their bodies safe. The rest of it is left up to each individual. Whether driving a vehicle, playing a game, mowing the lawn, or doing our regular daily routines, we must stay safe and avoid injury. Being hurt is no fun at all, and we miss out on things we take for granted – like going to school or work!
Stay safe and well.