This month, Ephraim McDowell Health joins the National Safety Council for National Safety Month. It’s a time to reflect on ways we can ensure safety both in the workplace and at home.
In 2020 alone, there were more than four million workplace injuries reported in the United States. Since COVID, more workers than ever before have transferred out of their normal work environment and are now working from home. Safety is important no matter where you are or what you are doing. From slips, trips and falls, to workplace impairment, and musculoskeletal disorders, learning some tips that can keep you safe both at work and while enjoying recreational activities can make all the difference in the world when considering your safety.
The leading cause of injury is musculoskeletal disorders. These types of injuries can cost employers and individuals both time and a lot of money while at work and also during non-working hours. In fact, they make up billions of dollars every year in loss for both worker’s compensation and productivity. The most important step in preventing this type of injury is to maintain proper posture and positioning when lifting heavy objects, avoiding bending your neck forward for extended periods of time, and avoiding static positions for prolonged periods of time. If you are unable to avoid sitting or bending your neck for prolonged periods of time, make sure to take a counteractive stretch break. This can help to reduce repeated or sustained awkward postures that can lead to injury.
After these last few years, stress and fatigue can be at an all-time high both at home and in the workplace. Many of us may find ourselves in distress and may not even recognize the symptoms as they continue to worsen. Impairment, whether you are at work or at home, is important to recognize. Impairment can be from a substance or stress weighing you down mentally and making it almost impossible to complete a task. As we navigate our way back into our new normal, be aware of your mental health so you can ensure your safety and the safety of others around you.
To help counteract the possible bad habits stress can develop, it is important to understand how substance abuse develops. Know the signs and symptoms, and be okay with asking for help and seeking personal or medical attention for mental health if needed. If you do, make sure you examine your risk factors and triggers both at home and in your work environment. Also, make sure to avoid temptation and peer pressure, and try as best you can to keep a balance at home and at work so you do not become overwhelmed.
Lastly, slips, trips and falls happen sometimes when least expected, and even when steps have even been taken for prevention. By ensuring you are taking as many preventative steps as possible to reduce and eliminate these dangers, you can help to ensure the safety of yourself and others around you. Make sure you clean spills immediately if they happen. If you are unable to, mark spills and wet areas for others to avoid. Clean all floor surfaces of debris, and keep them clean and clear to help prevent trips and falls in the future. Remove all obstacles that may be a danger to yourself or others. Make sure all objects that can fall are secured so that you prevent injury when least expected. Close all doors and drawers when not in use. Cover cables that may cross walkways. Also, make sure and keep your area well lit so you can see where you are going and what you are doing.
At Ephraim McDowell Health, we are here to care for you if the unfortunate happens, but prevention is key and starts both in the workplace and at home. By following these easy steps, you can help keep yourself and your loved ones safe. I hope you join us this month in eliminating and preventing as many injuries as possible.