By Maree Kyle
Whether in the home or the workplace, most people believe they have a good grip on how to keep their environment safe. We all know to keep fire alarms and smoke detectors up to date and equipped with good batteries, and few of us would leave a puddle on the ground for others to slip on. However, there are some areas that tend to escape people’s attention — those that you wouldn’t see at all. Below are three “invisible” safety concerns and tips to keep safe.
Just because there’s no smoke doesn’t mean the air in your house is in the clear. Gas appliances can spring leaks that go undetected, and nudging a gas range can quickly fill your kitchen with fumes. Even more dangerous are carbon monoxide leaks, which put about 20,000 Americans in the hospital every year. Though this colorless and odorless gas is almost impossible for humans to detect, a carbon monoxide detector can alert you immediately, giving you time to get outside and clear the air. Consider installing at least one carbon monoxide detector, especially in areas with young children or the elderly, and ask a contractor about gas leak detectors for home appliances.
Everything in your home or office may be perfectly safe on its own, but can become a hazard when mixed with another innocuous substance. One common example is cleaning chemicals. If you bleach your sink before using a drain cleaner, you’ll have inadvertently mixed bleach with an acid, which can result in irritation to the eyes and throat, or even vomiting and trouble breathing in extreme cases. To avoid these dangers, always use cleaning chemicals separately, or use homemade natural cleansers like vinegar and baking soda on household messes. Wearing gloves will help protect your hands and skin.
There are certain steps that should be taken to make sure that you, too, are accident-proof. Purchase a small, folding step ladder and keep it easily accessible. Avoid using rails, counters, furniture or shelves to get to hard-to-reach places and use the ladder instead. Wear non-slip shoes to any job that involves being on your feet and always remember to lift with your legs. Use sunscreen daily and reapply often at the beach. A little bit of prevention can keep you out of more serious accidents and is easily incorporated into your day-to-day routine.
Each step can be done relatively quickly, especially if you do it a little bit at a time. To keep up with safety, incorporate it into your spring cleaning. Once a year, check your house for loose outlet covers, rot and mold, and loose cabinet doors. Check the batteries on your smoke detectors and make sure you have a good fire escape plan, both at home and at the office. Then, make sure everyone actually knows about it. This is also a good time to get your car checked. You may even want to take a defensive driving course to stay refreshed on the rules of the road.