for Avoiding Summer Accidents
While everyone looks forward to the nice weather and chance to enjoy time outside with their families, the summer is also a high-risk period for the workplace, with more workplace injuries occurring in July, August, and September than any other three-month span.
In 2019, exposure to heat led to 43 work-related deaths and 2,410 injuries and illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you want to keep your employees safe and productive during the summer months, here are five tips to keep everyone on track.
1. Keep Cool
One of the key causes of workplace injury and illness over the summer is heat stress. According to the CDC, more than 600 heat-related deaths occur in the United States annually. To keep your employees from becoming a statistic, make sure that they stay hydrated, take regular breaks to cool down, implement work cycles to limit prolonged exposure and use the buddy system so reduce the chances of an employee succumbing to heat stress. Invest in drinkable PPE, extra water, ice, or supply popsicles at the work site.
2. Provide the Right Gear
The same PPE that works during cooler months may be putting your employees at risk over the summer. Make sure that your employees are wearing PPE designed for hotter temperatures. This may include lightweight fabrics that allow for improved airflow, materials that wick away moisture and PPE in lighter colors that reflect heat. In addition, if your employees are working outside, make sure that they are wearing sunscreen. At the same time, summer should not be an excuse for employees to NOT wear necessary PPE like hard hats, work boots or fall prevention equipment.
Another cause of injury over the summer is a lack of focus. Studies have shown that employees anticipating or returning from vacation may be less focused than normal. To keep everyone on track, maintain open lines of communication and be on the lookout for at-risk employees. Setting clear goals and creating an incentive program when those goals are achieved can also help keep your employees focused and on track.
4. Avoid Injuries
Longer summer hours and nice weather may encourage workers to exert themselves more or for longer periods of time. This can lead to increased likelihood of strains, sprains and lifting injuries. Providing basic ergonomics training, encouraging employees to take time to stretch during the day and providing rest periods can help your employees to avoid injuries that can take them off the job.
5. Train New Workers
A contributing factor for summertime injuries is the influx of younger workers. Whether its new graduates entering the workforce or students working over break, new workers on the job add additional risk. While it may seem counterproductive to take time to train employees who will only be around in the short-term, taking the time for proper training can make the difference between a great potential employee and an injured employee.
Have a Safe Day!