June is National Safety Month. Started by the National Safety Council more than 20 years ago, the month brings attention to the large numbers of injuries and fatalities throughout the country that are caused by workplace accidents, unsafe driving behaviors and other preventable dangers in our communities. A message promoting safety is one that we all need to hear, as statistics show that injuries and fatalities on our roadways and in our workplaces are continuing to rise.
Each week during June, a different safety topic is highlighted in observation of National Safety Month. This year’s topics, in order, beginning with Week 1 are hazard recognition; slips, trips and falls; fatigue; and impairment.
Hazard recognition – There are many potential workplace hazards. Recognizing them can make the difference between staying safe and suffering an injury, or worse. Just a very few examples of things that can cause dangers in the workplace are poor lighting, power cords running across floors, frayed electrical cords, unguarded machines, chemicals, confined spaces and working on ladders or scaffolds.
Slips, trips and falls – Nationwide, slips, trips and falls at work caused over 220,000 injuries in 2017, and, sadly, 887 deaths, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falls from heights are the most lethal, so it’s no surprise that construction workers face the highest risk of fatalities and serious injuries. But even office workers can slip, trip and fall in workplaces where hallways are cluttered or liquids have been spilled on floors.
Fatigue – People require a certain amount of sleep each night to function properly—experts say 7 to 9 hours for most people. When we don’t get adequate sleep, our alertness is impaired and our reaction times are slower, which can lead to serious accidents behind the wheel or when operating machinery or performing other higher risk tasks at work. According to the NSC, you are three times more likely to be in a car accident while driving when fatigued. The Council also reports that more than 13 percent of workplace injuries can be attributed to fatigue.
Impairment – According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in three traffic deaths in the country involves an alcohol-impaired driver, which adds up to over 10,000 people dying due to drunk drivers each year. In addition to accidents caused by alcohol use, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that 16 percent of motor vehicle accidents involve illegal or prescription drug use.
What You Can Do
It’s a good thing that there is an entire month dedicated to highlighting safety and reducing deaths and injuries throughout the country. Having a strong safety focus is important each and every day, however.
What can you do to help prevent deaths and injuries at work and in motor vehicle accidents? Here are a few tips:
- Consider your own driving behaviors and make improvements if necessary.
- Be aware of the behavior of other drivers around you. If a vehicle appears to have a drunk driver at the wheel, stay safely away from them and call 911.
- Pay attention to potential hazards in your workplace and report them to management.
- Ensure that you have adequate training if you are assigned to perform higher-risk tasks at work.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer
If despite your safety efforts you are injured in a workplace, motor vehicle or other accident, an experienced attorney can help you get the compensation you need for your medical bills and other expenses. Reach out to Kaplan Lawyers PC for assistance. Our knowledgeable attorneys are available for you to contact 24/7.