Injuries remain the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And workplace injuries continue to contribute to that statistic: over 5,000 workers died on the job in 2017 alone, averaging nearly 100 deaths a week or more than 14 deaths every day, according to OSHA.
June is National Safety Month, and although employers should be evaluating and addressing their safety management systems throughout the year, this annual observance affords organizations the opportunity to focus more closely on reducing the leading causes of injury and death at work.
To that end, the nonprofit National Safety Council is providing free downloadable resources throughout the month, highlighting a different safety topic for each week in June. Topics chosen for this year's National Safety Month include Fatigue, Impairment, Hazard Recognition and Slips, Trips and Falls. Employers can access free posters, tip sheets and other materials to help spread safety messages in the workplace, and National Safety Council Members will automatically receive exclusive safety videos, 5-minute safety talks, webinars and more.
In addition to distributing the downloadable materials, NSC is also encouraging employers to engage workers through a variety of creative methods, including creating newsletters or blog posts, holding safety trivia contests with weekly prizes and hosting safety fairs or safety-themed luncheons for employees.
NSM is an ideal time not only to educate your workforce on relevant safety matters, but also to reassess your facility's safety strategy to check that the protocols in place are continuing to provide the best possible protection for your building's occupants.
When analyzing your facility's safety strategy, you should first confirm that the security, fire and life safety systems are all integrated. For example, access controls systems should be connected to video surveillance for enhanced safety, according to EHS Today. Secondly, you should check that you have an emergency preparedness drill in place so that the facility is prepared for any hazardous situations that may occur and employees know how to respond to them.
Employers should also take stock of their current security policies and determine whether new initiatives need to be implemented. For example, you may want to look into requiring employees to wear ID badges or access cards on site if such a measure is not already in place. Organizations may also want to bring in third-party professionals to inspect and assess the facility's security and safety.
Looking beyond the month of June, employers should continue to regularly inspect and test security, fire and life safety systems to confirm that they are functioning properly and fully compliant with various safety regulations. Though National Safety Month comes but once a year, regulatory compliance and worker safety must remain constant concerns.