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For Immediate Release
May 16, 2002
Contact Information:
Kevin Weeks, 503-947-7428
Toll-free in Oregon: 1-800-922-2689

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 company’s 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). Research training 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 company’s bottom line through reduced insurance, liability and worker’s 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. Today’s pain in the back becomes tomorrow’s 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-OSHA’s Consultation Program. Safety in the workplace doesn’t 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 OSHA’s website, www.orosha.org