June is National Safety Month
June 2002 has been designated as National Safety Month by the National
Safety Council (NSC). The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division
(OR-OSHA) would like to remind you just how important it is to take safety
to work with you every day. Workplace injuries and deaths have a profound
impact in human grief and monetary costs. The national cost of loss
related to job-related injuries is estimated at more than $122 billion
in 1999 - more than the combined profits of the top seventeen Fortune
500 companies during that year, according to NSC data.
There are a number of ways to improve safety at work:
Training and Hazard Identification - Employers, make sure you
have properly trained employees on every piece of equipment they will
operate at work, and know how to provide first aid or assistance during
a medical or safety emergency. Be sure that other managers and coworkers
share your understanding - Communicate about hazards you find in
the workplace, and participate in your companys safety committee.
Reduce Workplace Violence - Find out if your company is addressing
workplace violence, which was the third leading cause of workplace fatalities
nationwide in 2000 (Source: American Society of Safety Engineers study).
opportunities and security policies for your company. Develop a plan
to respond to, and diffuse, potentially dangerous situations safely.
Prevent Repetitive Motion Injuries - As the service economy
expands in the U.S. so do the number of injured workers. In 2000, almost
26 percent of the 1.7 million Americans injured at work were service sector
workers with injuries related to muscle, nerve or tendon damage. Three
occupations in particular - truck drivers, nursing aides and laborers
- are at a higher risk for injuries.
Create a Safety Culture - Safety in the workplace should not be just
another program with more paperwork it should be a philosophy. Leaders,
make Maintain and Improve Safety a productivity priority just
like other performance goals and reward good safety benchmarks achieved
by employees. Workers can also remind managers that employees who work
safe help your companys bottom line through reduced insurance, liability
and workers compensation costs.
Put Your Body in Motion...Safely - Employers, ensure that protective
equipment has been provided for your employees where they work. Safeguard
your senses such as hearing, sight or your lungs and protect muscle groups
from excessive strain or improper lifting. Make sure workstations are
correctly configured to your ergonomic needs. Todays pain in the
back becomes tomorrows lifelong injury.
The above suggestions apply to almost every business. Oregon OSHA
also provides safety information specific to many industries such as logging,
construction and agriculture. Contact Oregon OSHA at 800-922-2689 for
additional safety guidelines and recommendations, or to schedule a visit
to your workplace by OR-OSHAs Consultation Program. Safety in the
workplace doesnt just happen. It is a partnership - between workers
and management, as well as government and professional groups.
Oregon OSHA offers a variety of conferences, on-site training, educational
resources and consultation services to help Oregon employers create safer
workplaces and reduce the amount of productivity lost due to injuries
which occur at work. Additional information and resources are available
on Oregon OSHAs website, www.orosha.org