What can your business learn from National Safety Month?
Posted on 11th Jun, 2018 | By Lorretta Tatham
Organised every June by the National Safety Council, National Safety Month is geared towards educating workers and employers about the most common risks to health and safety, often highlighting a slightly different set of issues each year. This can range from how to avoid injuries on slippery surfaces, all the way up to the importance of equipment maintenance (for example, carrying out decent ladder inspections!). With that in mind, at Browns Safety this week we thought it worth taking a look at National Safety Month in a bit more detail, and what your business can learn from it.
What is National Safety Month?
As you’ve probably guessed, it’s mostly self-explanatory! As we touched upon above, National Safety Month is an annual event organised by the National Safety Council, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to eliminating preventable deaths and injuries at work and at home. They’re based in Illinois in the States, and although National Safety Month started as an American event, the validity of its advice is by no means limited to the US. (Let’s be honest, the best safety advice is almost universally applicable, no matter where you are in the world!)
The four focuses of National Safety Month for 2018
The different focuses for each National Safety Month are split into four – one for each week. So, let’s take a look at the most important points for this year!
Week 1: Create a home emergency plan
The past week has emphasised the importance of staying safe at home. Although not strictly to do with workplaces, many of the advice for home emergency plans can also be broadly applied to office risk assessments. What’s more, this particular issue seems particularly relevant at the moment for us here in the UK, given the controversy surrounding the tragic events of Grenfell Tower exactly a year ago.
It seems arguably overly-optimistic to expect every householder to draw up a full emergency plan for every situation, and many blocks of flats may even have their own emergency procedures (especially in light of Grenfell). However, it is worth knowing, at the very least:
How you’ll communicate the dangers to your family members, or anyone else in the house
- All your possible evacuation routes, and which ones to prioritise
- If anyone has any individual needs which might hinder their attempts to reach the exits
Week 2: Get at least seven hours of sleep
This week brings an especially relevant issue to us here in the UK. For the past few years, we have ranked consistently amongst the most sleep deprived nations in the world. Many of us, employers and employees alike, can often seriously underestimate the effect this can have on our health over time.
As well as verbally encouraging employees to make sure that they’re doing as much as they can to get their requisite amount of sleep each night, employers can also examine working procedures to ensure they’re maximising productivity but minimising strain on employees. It’s a tricky balance to strike! What’s more, it might be worth investing in updated, ergonomic equipment to minimise worker fatigue.
All of this should be a vital priority for employers, as worker fatigue and sleep deprivation can have a variety of detrimental consequences. These include:
- Slower reactions and reduced co-ordination
- An affected ability to process information
- Memory lapses and confusion
- Decreased awareness
- Underestimation of risks and dangers
Week 3: Watch out for slips, trips and falls
These still often rank highly amongst the leading types of injury here in the UK, fatal or otherwise. It’s easy to see why – just a quick moment of inattentiveness, or lack of appropriate signage can result in injuries within seconds. However, just because slips and falls can so easily occur doesn’t mean we should just dismiss them as a fact of life – if anything, it just means employers need to put in maximum effort in order to eradicate them entirely!
Here’s how you can help to prevent slips and falls at work:
- Clean up spills and liquids immediately
- Secure your working environment by making sure that there are no trailing wires or obstructions
- Make sure appropriate signage is laid out when the situation requires (for example, wet floor signs)
- Stay alert to moving obstacles or hazards, such as trailing wires when equipment is being moved
Week 4: Always wear a seat belt
True, it does sound basic – something drummed into all of us right from the beginning of our lives – but you might be surprised at how many modern drivers still neglect this essential safety step. Even commercial drivers aren’t always exempt! No matter how short your journey, whether you’re commuting, delivering or simply moving your vehicle for a short distance, you should never neglect your seat belt. Don’t forget to ensure your passengers wear one too!
Here at Browns Safety, your safety is our priority all year round. That’s why we run a number of accredited in-house courses designed to help you ensure maximum safety in your workplace. This includes our 3-day first-aid course to help your staff gain a basic understanding of essential medical aid, as well as our Working At Height training course to help you prevent the most dangerous types of falls at work. To book a place on these – for yourself or a number of your staff – you can simply click the links above, or alternatively give our experts a call on 01254 615517.