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June 4th, 2015

Protect Yourself And Others During National Safety Month

Every June, the National Safety Council observes National Safety Month, a time to focus on spreading awareness about how to reduce injuries and death from accidents at work, on the roads, and at home.

This year, the topics of National Safety Month will be:

  • Transportation safety
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Ergonomics
  • Prescription painkiller abuse

Here’s a closer look at these topics and the NSC’s safety recommendations.

Safety on the Roads

Auto crashes are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Nearly 100 people die from Houston Car Accident Attorneys every day. Many of these accidents are entirely preventable with the proper safety precautions, including:

  • Avoid cell phone use: Talking or texting on a cell phone is a factor in approximately 26 percent of accidents every year. Hands-free is not a safer alternative – even when your hands are free, your brain is still distracted from driving.
  • Get plenty of rest: Drowsy driving is responsible for an estimated 1,550 deaths each year. If you are tired or have been taking medication that can make you drowsy, don’t get behind the wheel.
  • Reduce Teen Crash Risk: Approximately half of all teenagers will be in a car crash before they graduate high school. While many will be just fender-benders, too many accidents will be fatal. Parental involvement can reduce the risks. Practice with your teen every week, outline driving rules, limit who rides with your teen, and limit night time driving.

Always Be Prepared

Throughout the year, different parts of the U.S. are vulnerable to different types of natural disasters. Whether blizzards in the winter, or hurricanes in the summer, of flash flooding like much of Texas experienced in May, we should always be prepared in case of an emergency.

Help protect your family by always keeping an emergency kit stocked and ready. A kit should be updated every 6 months to make sure items are in good working order and that food is not expired.

Stock your emergency kit with:

  • Water, at least a gallon per person per day, enough to last three days.
  • Nonperishable food, enough for three days. Include items such as tuna, nut butter, granola bars, and infant formula if you have a baby.
  • A can opener
  • Hand crank or battery powered radio
  • Flashlights
  • First aid kit, including gauze, tape, band aids, triple antibiotic ointment, and a First Aid quick guide
  • Tool kit, including scissors and other basic tools, such as a hammer, screwdriver, etc.
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Garbage bags
  • Moist towelettes
  • Plastic sheets
  • Duct Tape
  • Whistle
  • Extra batteries for any battery operated items in the kit

Your car should also be equipped with emergency gear, such as a properly inflated spare tire and jack, jumper cables, tool kit, flashlight and batteries, reflective triangles, first aid kit, and non-perishable foods, water, and a car charger for your cell phone.

Slips, Trips and Falls

Trips, slips and falls are some of the most common accidents, both at home and in the workplace.

The following tips can help reduce tripping hazards in the workplace:

  • Electrical and phone cords should be secured away from walkways
  • Non-skid rugs should be used and taped down to prevent rolling
  • Drawers and cabinets should be kept closed
  • Wear proper footwear for your work
  • Spills should be cleaned immediately and warning signs placed in wet spots
  • Keep work areas adequately lit

At home, one of the most common areas in which slip and fall accidents happen is the bathroom. Falls can be particularly hazardous for older adults. About 80 percent of fall accidents for seniors happen in the bathroom at the result of slippery surfaces and floors.

Make your bathroom fall-proof with these tips:

  • Add non-slip mats inside and outside the tub
  • Add a bath step to make it easier to get in and out of the shower and bathtub
  • Put grab bars next to the toilet for help standing and sitting
  • Put night lights in the bathroom
  • Add a hand-held shower nozzle

Ergonomics and the Workplace

We represent many injured maritime workers. While the maritime industry has many hazards, it’s certainly not the only workplace environment that workers can be injured in.

Many workplace injuries happen because the principles of ergonomics are not followed. Ergonomics is the science of designing a safe and efficient environment.

Here are some risk factors for job-related injuries:

  • Poor work station design
  • Improper techniques when lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, or stretching
  • Making repetitive motions
  • Working in unusual positions
  • Sitting/standing too long
  • Using excessive force

Whether lifting boxes, typing on a computer, or putting items on an assembly line, these tips can help reduce injuries at work:

  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Space out different types of duties when possible.
  • Report any pain or discomfort to your supervisor right away.
  • Use ergonomically designed equipment, including keyboards to desk chairs.
  • When lifting, keep your back straight and bend your knees, lifting with your legs and not your back. Ask for help with oversized loads.

Prescription Painkillers

The leading cause of unintentional death of adults 25-64 years old is drug overdose, largely from opioid painkillers. Opioids such as Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet, Norco, morphine and Dilaudid are commonly used for pain relief; unfortunately, these drugs can have risky side effects and can be highly addictive.

These factors can increase risks of dangerous side effects:

  • Family history of addiction
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic constipation

Opioid painkillers can also affect your ability to drive and work safely.

Get Help With Accident Injuries

If you’re injured in an accident because of negligence, the personal injury attorneys serving Houston at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with an experienced accident attorney.

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