Anyone who has gone through the construction supervisor licensing process in Massachusetts knows that a substantial amount of the qualification exam focuses on a single topic: safety. This makes sense; after all, safety on the job is so important in the U.S. that the National Safety Council sets aside an entire month to commemorate it.
June marks the 23rd annual National Safety Month, and this year’s edition identifies several safety-related topics which will be addressed during each week of the month.
Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
During the first week of June, the NSC is concentrating on emergency preparedness. The agency is urging entities to reexamine their internal policies in the event of a fire, storm, or natural disaster. Also, the council is promoting its free community active shooter training programs given the recent mass shootings in Florida and Texas.
In addition, the NSC wants to make sure that every worker is familiar with how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and/or knows where an automated external defibrillator (AED) is located on their job site. And the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is touting its Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance (EHRMS) framework to help care for the health and well-being of emergency responders across the U.S.
Week 2: Wellness
Week 2 of National Safety Month spotlights wellness initiatives aimed at American employees. A significant emphasis this year falls on the dangers of what’s called “circadian misalignment,” which is a fancy term for when people try to stay awake when their bodies want to sleep. The NSC has created a Fatigue Cost Calculator which helps employers compute the monetary losses caused by drowsy or sleep-deprived workers, and NIOSH is promoting a training program for nurses who do shift work.
There are other aspects of wellness that the council wants to highlight. The organization wants to make sure that anyone who is prescribed an opioid medication is made aware of the potential for abuse of the drug for them or their family members. NIOSH is releasing a list of fundamental tenets for total worker health. And OSHA is raising awareness about heat-related illness prevention during June and all summer long.
Week 3: Falls
The third week revolves around one of the costliest workplace injury categories: falls. The NSC is providing resources including a personal safety checkup tool and guidelines on maintaining safety when working at heights. NIOSH is plugging its ladder safety app and its aerial lift hazard recognition simulator. And OSHA is talking about the value of various personal fall arrest systems like body harnesses and lifelines.
Furthermore, NIOSH is focusing specifically on the construction industry by offering resources to prevent falls on the job site. The group wants construction supervisors and workers to create safety protocols at heights before each job and to ensure that all workers are properly trained and furnished with the appropriate equipment.
Week 4: Driving
The final week of 2018’s National Safety Month is centered around safe driving practices on and around a construction site. NIOSH is specifically targeting workplace motor vehicle safety, older drivers on the job site, and the avoidance of fatigued driving at work. There’s also a special endeavor to urge drivers not to use mobile phones – even hands-free devices – while driving in order to limit accidents caused by distracted driving.
Other aspects of driving safety include a safe driving kit provided by the NSC and a virtual portal of vehicle safety technologies on MyCarDoesWhat.org. Vehicle recall updates can also be found at the website ChecktoProtect.org, and drivers can learn more about the NSC’s Road to Zero Coalition which aims to eliminate all roadway accidents by 2050.
If you’re interested in pursuing any of these topics and bringing these resources to your construction site, you can check out the National Safety Council website or the sites of the council’s partnering agencies. Have a happy (and safe!) National Safety Month!
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