By Sarah D. Morrison, Administrator/CEO
June is National Safety Month, when thousands of organizations across the country join the National Safety Council to raise awareness of what it takes to stay “SafeForLife.” We at the Ohio BWC want employers and employees to think safety all year round, of course, but June is an excellent time for employers to review and update their safety programs and for employees to be especially mindful of good safety habits. Here’s why:
- It’s summer. School’s out and our young, less-experienced workers will be out in full force, some in jobs where they’re not too familiar with certain kinds of machinery, be it a deep fryer, a chipper-shredder or a carnival ride. They’ll need guidance from experienced co-workers. Check out our Youth Safety site for additional resources.
- It’s hot, and this year could be the hottest on record, scientists warn. That could mean especially brutal conditions for Ohioans who work outdoors. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration reminds us that heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year and even more heat-related illnesses.
We encourage workers to watch out for each other and take action if a coworker is struggling on the job or showing signs of heat illness. Additionally, because many outdoor workers change job sites routinely, it’s important to become familiar with the work location in case there’s a need to call for help. And for those scorcher days, remember these simple tips: hydrate, cover and rest.
- Hydrate with water every 15 minutes, even if you aren’t thirsty;
- Cover up with light clothes and a hat;
- Rest regularly in cool shaded areas.
The BWC is your go-to center for workplace safety. Our Division of Safety and Hygiene is an outstanding resource for Ohio employers seeking consultation on the most effective safety practices. Here are just a few areas we suggest you review as we kick off the summer:
- Emergency preparedness programs – There are many types of emergencies employers face, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. Employers can review scenarios with their employees so they are prepared to make the best decisions in the event of an emergency.
- Hazard communications plans – These plans keep record of all hazardous chemicals, how to use them, what to do if an employee is exposed, and where to find that data within the workplace easily. Employees need this training when hired and refreshed throughout their employment. BWC consultants can help employers create a hazard communications plan.
- First Aid Kits – Check your first aid kit to ensure all supplies are replenished and any medications are not expired. BWC’s video library contains several training videos on first aid in the workplace.
Remember, most injuries are preventable if employers and employees work together to recognize potential dangers and warning signs and know how to respond. So let’s take this month to recommit ourselves to fostering safe work environments all year long!
For more information about safety, go to bwc.ohio.gov and click on Safety Services to get tips and information about grants and consultations. Employers can call 1-800-644-6292 to schedule safety consultations.
All BWC safety services are included as part of employers’ premiums at no additional charge.