August Recognitions, Celebrations, and Hazards
As the saying goes, “safety never takes a holiday.” Summer has two major holidays on either end- Memorial Day and Labor Day. But to fully enjoy Labor Day on September 2 we need to get through August injury free. Turns out that August is the busiest month of the year for The MEMIC Group claims team. August will likely result in nearly 4000 workplace injury claims. So as we find ourselves once again in the dog days of summer, let’s make sure we keep our focus on safety.
August is Back to School Safety Month, so very soon we’ll have a lot of very young and very energetic people lining up at bus stops and crossing streets. We say this every year, but it bears repeating. Keep a sharp eye out for the unexpected when driving, especially early in the morning and in the afternoon when the school buses are on their routes picking up or dropping off children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has multiple resources for drivers, parents, walkers, bikers, and student drivers.
August is also National Immunization Awareness Month. This is not only a public health issue, but can be a significant workplace safety issue. Immunizations are not just for kids! People of all ages should be aware of the available vaccinations and talk to their health care providers about making smart choices. Check out this resource page from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
August 15 is National Relaxation Day. This sounds like it could be my favorite day! But seriously, workplace stress takes its toll on everyone. Stress and fatigue lead to poor decision making and that often leads to injury. Taking care of the body is a primary step to injury prevention. Take a look back at a few of our posts about fatigue (Pour Me Another Cup of Coffee), fitness and wellness (Is Your Company Fit for a Fitness Center?), and nutrition (Ask the Doctor: Does the Type of Food You Eat Make It Harder or Easier to Lose Weight?). With this advice now go out there and relax!
Speaking of stress, don’t forget we still have to worry about heat stress. Summer heat and humidity will be with us for many weeks to come. OSHA launched a Heat Illness Prevention Campaign in 2011 focused on employer responsibilities and the hazards of working in the heat. You can find numerous resources for employee training, worker protection, and specific industry advice.
In the month of August, MEMIC policyholders will likely file over 600 claims for falls, nearly 1000 for “struck by” incidents, and just under 100 for “caught in” injuries. These three causes represent nearly half of the claim total, so they deserve attention from all employers. These can be from any industry, but according to OSHA, these are three of the four most common causes of serious injuries and fatalities in construction. Nearly 80% of such incidents are the result of the Focus Four (struck by, caught between/crushing, falls, and electrocution). All employers should be on the lookout for hazards related to these including trip hazards, electrical hazards, and conditions that could result in a worker being struck or crushed by an object. These four topics are covered extensively in the OSHA 10 Hour Construction Outreach Workshop available at no cost to MEMIC policyholders. Click here to check out our latest workshop schedule.
So as you enjoy the last days of summer fun in the sun, keep in mind that although MEMIC has an industry leading claim team, we’d rather you not need to use their expertise. Have a great National Relaxation Day (Aug 15), National Tell a Joke Day (Aug 16), and National Lemonade Day (Aug 20), but please keep personal and workplace safety in mind each and every day.