By Chad Engle, Loss Prevention and Safety Specialist
June is our month, safety people, June is National Safety Month. During National Safety Month the Nebraska Safety Council focuses on Musculoskeletal Disorders during week one, Workplace Impairment during week two, Injury Prevention during week three and Slips, Trips and Falls during week four.
NIRMA’s relationship with the Nebraska Safety Council provides a membership to each NIRMA County or Agency. Now would be a wonderful time to contact them and register for your own county or agency login Id and password to obtain access to all their free resources that will help reduce accidents and injuries from these causes of injury and many others.
In addition to the Nebraska Safety Council, NIRMA provides multiple resources to assist your loss prevention efforts. Last month’s Safety Shorts article detailed those resources.
Musculoskeletal disorders are caused by many things. Posture and overuse are two common causes. Warm up and stretch before starting activities that are repetitive, static, or prolonged. Take frequent breaks from any sustained posture every 20 – 30 minutes and stretch stiff muscles. Maintain correct posture while sitting by positioning your bottom all the way to the back of your chair. This allows the lumbar support to protect and assist your posture. Also, keep wrists in a neutral position.
Workplace impairment is a growing concern due to the availability of marijuana and the increased abuse of opioids. The National Safety Council recommends educating your workforce on the topic of opioids, training supervisors and employees to spot the signs of drug misuse and impairment and treating substance use disorders as a medical condition that can and should be treated. They also stress the importance of leveraging employee assistance programs to help employees return to work.
Injury prevention is an especially important topic that your safety committee should be addressing at each quarterly meeting. During each meeting, the committee should review any incident that occurred during the previous quarter and develop recommendations to reduce the risk of the incident reoccurring in the future. It is also, a best practice to review any “near misses” that occurred. Property inspections are another method of identifying hazards and reducing the risk of injuries. If you’re safety committee is interested in learning other ways, they can reduce the risk of injuries I would be happy to come out and meet with you to discuss it further.
Week four focuses on reducing slips, trips, and falls. Every week of National Safety Month should focus on preventing slips, trips, and falls. Falls are consistently one of the top two causes of loss for NIRMA member counties and agencies. From icy sidewalks and parking lot slips during the winter to regular old trip hazards the rest of the year, NIRMA member employees are always at risk of falling and suffering an injury. This is a topic that should be addressed regularly by all employers. Streaming videos, in-person presentations or NIRMA’s Online University are options to keep this topic front of mind. Please let me know if you need assistance setting up training for your employees. I can always be reached at email@example.com or 1.800.642.6671.