As National Safety Month Concludes, Here’s the Top Advice

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Originally Published by: NSC — June 12, 2023
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Each June, we celebrate National Safety Month. Safety matters every day of the year, but during June it gets the extra attention it deserves so we can all stay safe, from the workplace to anyplace. As part of the celebration of safety, the National Safety Council selects themes for each week of the month. This blog will highlight research and prevention efforts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NSC in this year’s focus areas of emergency preparedness; slips, trips, and falls; heat-related illness; and hazard recognition.

Please download and share the free safety materials from NSC, including a poster, social media toolkit, animated graphics, articles and more – plus NSC members get additional exclusive resources. Visit the NIOSH websiteeNewsblog, and social media accounts to stay safe this month and all year long.

Week 1 – Emergency Preparedness

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The NIOSH Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Program prepares for, responds to, and researches chemical, biological, radiological and natural disasters. Responder safety and health must be addressed systematically during all phases (pre-deployment, during deployment, and post-deployment) to ensure only medically cleared, trained, and properly equipped personnel are deployed and that their health is effectively monitored and surveilled throughout the event and afterward. The next session of the the Disaster-related Exposure Assessment and Monitoring (DREAM) course is in September. Learn more and register.

NIOSH and its partners developed the Emergency Responder Health Monitoring and Surveillance™ (ERHMS™) framework which provides recommendations for protecting emergency responders during small and large emergencies in any setting. The NIOSH Storm, Flood, and Hurricane Response website provides information to help employers and workers prepare in advance for anticipated response activities, and to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses in the field once rescue, recovery, and clean-up activities begin. The website contains key messages for communicating about the multiple hazards related to storms, floods and hurricanes.

National Safety Council

An emergency can strike at any time, whether from a fire, natural disaster, release of hazardous material, medical issues, workplace violence and more. Being prepared is crucial. With the first week of June also being National CPR and AED Awareness Week, NSC encourages you to watch this survivor video and download the free NSC First Aid App.

Workplace violence is a top occupational hazard, yet few organizations have sufficient programs in place to prevent, mitigate and respond to violence. The NSC Work to Zero initiative believes safety technologies can help. Access a new report and playbook to help your employees be safe.

Would your company be ready if another pandemic arises? With the new National Safety Council COVID-19 Cost Calculator, you can enter the size of your workforce, average salary and other key data points to see how much an infectious disease outbreak would cost your company with and without a mitigation strategy.

Week 2 – Slips, Trips, and Falls

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Falls are a hazard found in many work sectors. A fall leading to injury or death can occur both during relatively simple job tasks on a level surface or during complex work tasks (such as work performed by an ironworker many stories above the ground). NIOSH has many fall prevention resources on its website including the ladder safety app, the mast climbing work platform inspection tool, and the mining Infographic: Don’t Slip Up!

Falls continue to be the leading cause of construction deaths accounting for approximately 35% of all construction fatalities from 2011-2021. This year marks the 10th annual National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls in construction, an event to raise awareness that falls among construction workers are preventable. Read more on the blog. The stand-down is part of the National Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction.

The highest numbers of nonfatal fall injuries are in the health services and the wholesale and retail sectors. NIOSH research found that providing highly-rated slip-resistant shoes to food service workers led to a 67% reduction in workers compensation claims for slip injuries. Download the infographic available in English and Spanish and visit the NIOSH falls website to learn how to keep workers safe.

National Safety Council

NSC provides statistics on workplace falls both to a lower level and on the same level as well as older adult falls to help show the scope of the problem. NSC also offers a Falls from Heights Toolkit, which provides best practices, planning tools, fact sheets, posters and more.

The Council’s Safety+Health magazine provides articles on a variety of occupational safety health topics, including 7 Tips for Safe Use of Ladders and Reducing Slips, Trips and Falls.

The Work to Zero initiative at NSC believes safety technology can play an important role in preventing falls. Check out a recorded webinar on An Introduction to Drones for Workplace Safety and technologies for addressing the hazardous situation of Work at Height.

Week 3 – Heat-related Illness

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Both outdoor and indoor workers who are exposed to occupational heat stress (the combination of heat from environmental factors, metabolic heat, clothing and personal protective equipment) may be at risk for heat-related illnesses and injuries. Heat-related illnesses may include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rashes and rhabdomyolysis. Injuries with heat as a factor may also occur, such as falls when someone becomes dizzy, slips on sweat puddles on floors or when safety glasses get fogged up. As temperatures and events like heat waves increasingly become a concern, more workplaces may be affected, and it will be important to create a protective workplace heat-illness prevention program.

Heat-illness prevention programs should include elements for monitoring weather and assessing the environmental heat at worksites, an acclimatization plan for new and returning workers, engineering controls (such as, shade structures, ventilation, reflective barriers), appropriate hydration resources, work/rest schedules, emergency plans, and training for supervisors and workers. Employers should provide training to workers so they understand what heat stress is and contributing risk factors, symptoms of heat-related illness and first aid, and what steps can be taken to reduce risk.

A number of resources are available on the NIOSH Heat Stress website including: the Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Heat and Hot Environments; the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App; the Prevent Heat-Related Illness Poster; and the OSHA-NIOSH Small Business Safety and Health Handbook. To catch the latest resources, webinars, and events on heat across collaborating Federal partners, visit

National Safety Council

The risks of heat-related illness can occur in any weather, indoors and out, and supervisors and workers alike need to watch for the early warning signs. From heat cramps and exhaustion to heat stroke, help make sure you and your workforce are prepared to stay safe in extreme heat.

The Council’s Injury Facts website shares that in 2021, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported 201 people died and 67 were injured in the U.S. from weather-related excessive heat. It is important to watch out for the most vulnerable populations, including those who work in the heatolder adults and infants and young children – especially if left in hot cars.

Since 1998, more than 900 children have died from vehicular heatstroke – an average of 38 per year. This is a workplace issue as approximately 25% of these deaths have occurred at the parent or caregiver’s place of work. We need everyone to be alert as they are walking into work in case a child has inadvertently been left in a vehicle. Encourage your staff to take the Council’s free online Children in Hot Cars training offered in both English and Spanish. Also, share the tragic story in this video so no other family has to experience this pain.

Week 4 – Hazard Recognition

National Institute for Occupational Occupational Saftey and Health

Recognizing hazards in the workplace is a first step to preventing injury and death. NIOSH offers several tools to help workers and employer identify hazards.

  • EXAMiner is a PC-based application that allows mineworkers to search for hazards by performing a virtual workplace examination.
  • The NIOSH Sound Level Meter mobile appis a tool to measure sound levels in the workplace and provide noise exposure parameters that empowers workers and employers to help reduce occupational noise-induced hearing loss.
  • The NIOSH Lifting Equation mobile application, NLE Calc, is a tool to calculate the overall risk index for manual lifting tasks to reduce the incidence of low back injuries in workers.
  • The Aerial Lift Hazard Recognition Simulator helps prevent falls and other injuries and deaths related to aerial lifts. From 2011-2014, 1,380 workers were injured and 87 died as a result of operating an aerial lift.
  • The Youth at Work Talking Safety Curriculum is an engaging, free, data-driven classroom-based curriculum. It teaches teens to identify hazards in any workplace and other safety and health information.
  • Direct reading technologies and devices using sensors can detect the presence of a chemical or physical hazard and identify a hazardous physical condition. For more information see the NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies and the sensors category on the NIOSH Science Blog.
  • Work-related fatigue can have serious consequences for worker health and safety. Fatigue detection technologies (FDTs) can help inform a fatigue risk management plan which can help keep workers safe. Learn how to selectimplement, and set objectives for an FDT for your workplace.
  • Firefighters are exposed to chemicals that could increase their risk of developing cancer. The National Firefighter Registry for Cancer is the largest effort ever undertaken to understand and reduce risk of cancer among U.S. firefighters. It is open to all firefighters, not just those with a cancer diagnosis.

After hazards are identified they can be prevented. A hierarchy of controls helps determine how to implement feasible and effective control solutions. One of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities is to “design out” or minimize hazards and risks. NIOSH leads a national initiative called Prevention through Design (PtD). NIOSH, NSC and the American Society of Safety Professionals present an annual PtD award honoring achievement in this area.

National Safety Council

Hazards are all around us both on and off the job. While some hazards might seem minor, from a burnt-out bulb to a cord stretched across a walkway, they can all create risks. But if we can identify hazards early, they can be reported and addressed to prevent injury and illness.

Keeping a watchful eye for safety is a skill we can all work on. The Campbell Institute at NSC offers research on visual literacy and the safety benefits of “learning to see.” As organizations mature along their safety journeys, risk assessments must also take a more sophisticated form. The Campbell Institute also offers a three-part white paper series on serious injury and fatality prevention.

Some hazards exist that can’t necessarily be seen, of which we should also be aware. These include impairment hazards. NSC promotes employer policies and procedures that define workplace impairment as anything that could impede one’s ability to function normally or safely, regardless of cause. Impairment can be caused by chemical factors, such as legal or illegal substances; physical factors, like fatigue; and psychosocial factors, like mental distress and stress. Learn more about impairment hazards.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are also very pervasive, affecting nearly one-quarter of the global population, and they are complex. They can include tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, ruptured or herniated discs, and sprains — just to name just a few. The MSD Solutions Lab at NSC offers a variety of free resources to address MSD hazards. Attend a free virtual Workplace Safety Summit on June 15 to learn more.

All workers can show their dedication to safety by taking the Council’s SafeAtWork pledge and committing to:

  • Actively help my employer improve our safety programs
  • Report hazards promptly and suggest solutions
  • Be a good safety role model for my friends and family, even off the job

Take the pledge today!