June is National Safety Month

Physicians Health Network Health & Awareness Articles

Every June, the National Safety Council celebrates National Safety Month. “This is a time we can bring attention to key safety issues affecting our families, friends, and co-workers,” said Doctor Croft. This year, the National Safety Council has announced that the National Safety Month theme, “Safety: It takes all of us,” was inspired by the idea of continuous risk reduction – a key pillar in the Journey to Safety Excellence.

A successful safety program depends on spotting hazards early, evaluating their risk and removing or controlling them before harm is done. Use this June to find creative ways to engage everyone in reducing risk in your workplaces. A little effort today has the potential to prevent tragedy tomorrow.

The physicians and members of Physicians’ Health Network hope that you will enjoy the summer and keep safe by following these safety guidelines.

Prevent prescription drug abuse:  We are all familiar with the phrase, “Use Only as Directed.”  This is especially important in the case of prescription medications – prescription medications should be used exactly as prescribed, and only by the person for whom they are prescribed.  Used in any other way could be fatal.

Tips to prevent unintentional drug abuse or overdose

–          By preventing injuries, you reduce the need for needing to take prescription painkillers.

–          Do not share your prescriptions – people can react differently to medications and should see their own physician for the prescription that is right for them and their condition.

–          Use prescription pain medication for its intended use – never adjust your own doses.

–          Store medications out of sight and reach of children

–          Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or other depressants such as sleep aids or anti-anxiety medications can be dangerous.  If you see multiple doctors, be sure to talk to them about all of the medications you are taking.

–          Dispose of any unused or expired medications properly.  If you are not certain about how to dispose of the medications ask your doctor.

Stop slips, trips, and falls:  Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common situations – on and off the job – that cause potential hazardous accidents.  Here are some of the things that can cause slips, trips, and falls be mindful of these and take the time to “fix” them so you can live and work in a safer environment.

–          Spills and wet floors

–          Bad lighting

–          Clutter

–          Open drawers

–          Not paying attention to where you are going

–          Running or walking too fast

–          Failure to use handrails on stairs

–          Not using a ladder correctly – or positioning it in a safe manner

–          Wearing inappropriate shoes

The interesting fact about all of these is they are preventable.  If you make a commitment to yourself and your family to address hazards as they come up such as, wiping up the spills as they occur, picking up the toys, don’t leave things on the stairs, and close cabinets and drawers when you’re finished with them.

Be aware of your surroundings:  Accidents happen to all of us, but by learning to pay attention to our surroundings, we will notice things that can cause an accident; and by noticing these things and fixing them, someone we love may avoid getting hurt.

The best way to start working on recognizing risks is by starting with looking inside the house.  Here are a few things that often stand out that you may not have noticed before.

–          Lighting – are the living areas let well enough to prevent trips and falls?

–          Countertops, phones, door handles, and tables are the most common surfaces for spreading germs – wipe them down often.

–          Rugs with non-skid features can be “a fall waiting to happen”.  Make sure you replace old rugs with non-skid rugs to minimize the chance of falls.

–          Handrails – need to be installed correctly on all staircases and used.

–          Check your walkways and remove clutter and debris and make sure they are well-lit at night to prevent falls

–          Clean the dryer lint traps thoroughly to lower the risk of fire

–          Test and replace smoke alarm batteries every six months.

Once you walk through your home and identify your risks, take a walk outside – what potential hazards are in your yard, garage, and neighborhood?

Safety is a good topic to talk about with your family.  Brainstorm with your family – include your children – to help identify ways that you can lower your risks in your home.

End Distracted Driving! Cell phones are one of the most common distractions – while driving – and increase your chance of getting in an accident by 400 percent.

Becoming distracted for even a second can cause you to miss a turn, run a stop sign, or, even worse, get into an accident – that could be fatal.

Driver distractions and/or inattentive driving play a part in one out of every four motor vehicle crashes.  That is more than 1.5 million collisions a year – and more than 4,300 crashes each day!

Distractions occur when something in- or outside the vehicle draws the driver’s attention away from driving.  Cell phones are not the only culprit – many accidents are caused by simply turning our attention away from the road by changing the radio station or as innocent as glancing at a dog on the sidewalk.  Carelessness or inattention – even for a second – causes more accidents than anything else does.

The best way to avoid the risks of accidents due to distracted driving habits is by staying focused when you’re on the road; put the cell phones away.  If you must make a call or send a text, pull over, stop the car, and then use your phone.

As June approaches and the kids are coming home for the summer, Talk Safety!    Think about and plan for things such as:

–          Tornado safety plans

–          Fire safety evacuation plans

–          Water safety

–          When and how to dial 911

–          Boating safety

–          Good eating and exercise habits

And most of all, talk about how you can make this one of the best and safest summers – ever!

Sources:  The Wisconsin Safety Council, a division of WMC, Alliant Energy: Safety – It takes all of us.