Beware the Perils of Summer
What’s your organization’s vacation policy? Do you encourage employees to take much-needed breaks in the summertime?
The benefits of vacation include better work-life balance, improved mental and physical health, increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and a more satisfied workforce. But – if they are not aware of how to mitigate risk during their free time – vacation may put your employees at increased risk of illness, injury, or even death.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in the month of July there is often a spike in deaths related to summertime activities. That’s why it is in your organization’s best interests to ensure that employees are equipped with the information they need to be safe, at home and on vacation, this summer.
The goal? We want your employees to come back to work healthy and refreshed – minimizing potential time off for recovery, reducing turnover, increasing productivity, and raising morale.
Understand the risks: Top Summer Accidents
Perhaps the best way to prevent injuries and even fatalities is to be aware of potential dangers that employees may face during the warmer summer months and to help them understand how to mitigate risk. Here are the most common summer accidents:
- Motor Vehicle Crashes
- Bicycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Motorcycle Crashes
- Swimming Accidents
While these types of accidents are more likely to occur outside of work, your organization can certainly play a part in helping employees to both assess and avoid risk in their personal time.
Do you want to help keep your employees safe in the summertime? Download these informational posters to help educate them on potential risks.
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Motor vehicle crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents occur most frequently in the summertime. This could be a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, drowsy driving, speeding or tailgating. No matter the cause, it is important for drivers to ensure they understand the risks and hazards associated with summer driving – both in cars and recreational off-road vehicles.
Did you know that head injuries are one of the most common maladies suffered by cyclists? A simple precaution that cyclists can take is to wear a helmet, which may reduce the risk for head injury by 85 percent.
Bicycle-related deaths peak in May and remain high through October, according to data from the National Safety Council (NSC). In fact, the number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents has increased 44% in the last 10 years. Encourage your employees to wear a helmet and be aware of their surroundings while bicycling!
- Left-hand turns: Three times as many people get hit by cars turning left than by cars turning right because drivers typically focus on oncoming traffic rather than the pedestrians around them.
- Unmarked crosswalks: Again, some drivers forget to monitor common crossing areas for pedestrians because they are so focused on other vehicles.
- Distracted drivers / pedestrians: Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, pay attention to the road. Avoid talking on your cell phone, texting, or emailing while driving and walking.
- Rolling stops: It is important for drivers to follow all applicable traffic laws, including fully stopping at a stop sign. Failure to do so may mean failure to notice pedestrians, cars, or obstacles in the road.
Understanding why pedestrian accidents happen can go a long way in preventing them. But pedestrians should be proactive by walking on sidewalks, crossing at intersections, avoiding alcohol or drugs, and following all applicable rules of the road.
This year, June 11 – 19 marked the 99th anniversary of Laconia Motorcycle Week, an event reported to be the world’s oldest motorcycle rally. Motorcycle week brings the second largest demographic of motorcycle riders in the country to the beautiful state of New Hampshire to ride through the scenic mountains.
At the end of this year’s event, local authorities reported five deaths resulting from motorcycle accidents statewide, with one crash victim still in critical condition. According to the NSC, motorcycle deaths have increased 20% over the last ten years. While awareness campaigns remind drivers to “share the road” with motorcycles, we still have work to do to better protect motorcycle riders.
In the U.S., according to the CDC, there are an average of 11 drowning deaths per day. Certain factors make drowning more likely and should therefore be avoided. Here are some tips for your employees to take back to their families, friends, and communities:
- Learn how to swim. Formal swimming lessons and training can improve your confidence and stamina in the water and it just might save your life
- Secure the area around your pool. A four-sided isolation fence which separates the pool area from the house and yard reduces a child’s risk of drowning by 83%.
- Supervise children in the water. Drowning is often quiet. It can occur when lifeguards are present. Be aware of your children’s ability levels and location in the water.
- Understand that drowning can happen anywhere, even in the bathtub. While most drowning incidents happen in swimming pools, among infants under 1 year old, two thirds of all drownings occur in bathtubs.
- Don’t swim under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in nearly one in four emergency department visits for drowning.
In addition to some of the top accidents listed above, it is important for your employees to be aware of common summertime dangers associated with warmer weather activities. These include:
- BBQs: The U.S. Fire Administration has reported that grill fires on residential properties result in an estimated average of 10 deaths and 100 injuries each year.
- Fireworks: According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires every year.
- Playgrounds: On average, over 200,000 children a year require emergency room care due to a playground-related injury.
101 Critical Days of Summer
In a recent post on staying cool in the summer heat, I mentioned that the Department of Defense hosts an awareness campaign from Memorial Day to Labor Day called “101 Critical Days of Summer.” Their goal is to help members of the military – and their families and communities – stay safe from common injuries and illnesses in the summertime.
Skillsoft has created a series of four compliance briefs to help any company looking to provide employees, their families, and the community with important information and insight into common summer safety hazards. Below is a description of the summer safety compliance briefs:
Compliance Brief: Summer Safety - Food and Fun
This course is designed to help learners identify safety measures to take to avoid becoming injured during common summer outdoor activities, including barbeques, fireworks, playgrounds, sports, walking, jogging, and bicycling.
Compliance Brief: Summer Safety on the Water
This course focuses on boating safety. Topics covered include preparation checklists, safety gear and procedures, developing a float plan, nautical rules of the road, the dangers of alcohol, and how to use personal watercraft safely.
Compliance Brief: Summer Safety in the Water
This course describes risks and safety measures associated with swimming in pools and open water. The content addresses how to secure your pool, pool chemical safety, safe swimming practices, how to manage getting caught in a rip current, and the proper use of sunscreen/sunblock.
Compliance Brief: Summer Vehicle Safety
This course describes risks and hazards associated with summer driving, riding motorcycles, and using recreational off-road vehicles.
Any Skillsoft customer that has access to our library of content will have access to these briefs automatically – and we invite them to share what they have learned as widely as possible.