Simple Ways to Prevent Injuries Anywhere
Hazards are everywhere, whether we realize it or not. Each year, Americans are injured by common items in their workplaces, homes, and schools. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for children under 18, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keep your family safe everywhere by following some basic precautions.
Staying Safe at Home
About a third of all reported injuries happen in the home, and elderly and small children are the most likely victims. According to the Home Safety Council, falls are the number one cause of injury in the home. Here’s how to make yours a fall-free zone:
- Slip-proof your bathroom by adding appliques to your bathtub and installing grab rails, particularly if you have an elderly parent staying with you. Buy a bathmat that has a non-skid bottom, and prevent slips by wiping up any water after you get out of the shower or tub.
- Keep your stairs clutter-free, and ensure that your handrails are installed tightly. If you have small children, install safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Just say no to throw rugs. Though they may add to the décor, they pose a serious risk of slip and fall injuries.
Poisoning is another common cause of home injury and is the leading cause of death in the home. Nearly 90% of poison exposure happens at home, so take precautions and secure your toxic materials. Poisoning is most common in kids under 5, so keep your cleaning products, medicines, plants, and vitamins out of reach. Cabinet locks provide extra peace of mind. If your child ingests something he or she shouldn’t have, call Poison Control immediately.
Safety in the Workplace
An estimated 2 million people are injured at work each year and require ongoing medical care. Workplace-related driving accidents are among the most common types of injury, costing $60 million a year. As an employer, check that all vehicles are meticulously maintained and inspected. As an employee, wear your seatbelt and report any problems to your employer immediately.
Ergonomic injury is another common cause of injury in the workplace. Employees should practice proper posture and take frequent breaks from being hunched over a computer desk. Employers can help by providing ergonomic chairs and providing opportunities for employees to stretch between tasks.
If you’re working in an industry that requires contact with corrosive materials or dangerous machinery, follow all OSHA regulations regarding protective equipment. Injury prevention in the workplace is the result of a collaborative effort between employers and employees to create a safe environment.
We all expect schools to be safe places for our children to learn, and they usually are. However, parents and teachers can still take steps to create a safer learning environment:
- Walking to school. If your children walk to school, do test runs with them a couple times so that they know the route. Teach them how to navigate crosswalks and instruct them to wait for the crossing guard, if available. Encourage them to seek help from a trustworthy adult if they encounter anyone suspicious.
- Teachers should provide adequate supervision during recess and establish basic ground rules to avoid injury. Make sure all shoelaces are tied and ensure children enter and exit the playground in an orderly fashion. Enforce all school rules for conduct. If a child is repeatedly having trouble following rules, follow up with a parent.
Injury prevention is a continuous and systemic effort between parents, children, administrators, employers, teachers, and employees. With a preventive approach, we can all play a part in minimizing the occurrence of accidents that lead to injuries.