National Safety Month Tips: No 1 Gets Hurt
Did you know that 2.9 million workers were involved in nonfatal workplace injuries in 2016? June is National Safety Month and a great time to learn a few new tips to keep you safe at work.
Do you ever consider the possibility of being hurt at work? We often take for granted that we are safe and sound as we do our job. But, the national numbers for workplace injuries are staggering.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.9 million workers were involved in nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2016. Another 5,190 workers died due to injuries sustained at work during the same year, which was up 7% from the previous year.
You may think that most of these injuries occur in high-risk careers, like law enforcement, construction, or transportation. And, while those industries are laden with injuries, nurses are not immune. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported that in 2011, hospitals had more workplace injuries that resulted in lost-days worked than construction or manufacturing industries.
Why should we focus on safety now?
Safety is a 24/7/365 business. Every June is National Safety Month, which gives you a great time to assess your workplace safety. This year, the National Safety Month theme is "No 1 Gets Hurt".
Here are few simple things you can do at work to make this theme work for your workplace.
Workplace Safety Tips
Adopt a Culture of Safety
Whether you're the director, a staff nurse, or certified nursing assistant, you can adopt and promote a culture of safety in your workplace. Be sure that everyone understands the importance of safety and follows the rules.
If you're a decision maker for your unit's safety policies, here are a few easy ways to create a culture of safety:
- Post the number of "injury-free days" for the hospital or unit in an easy to see place in the breakroom.
- Share safety tips at every nursing meeting.
- Be sure all new staff members are aware of workplace safety policies. Review them annually at meetings too.
- Create a safety committee to help with identification of potential safety concerns and implementation of safety practices.
Report Safety Concerns Immediately
If you notice that the ice machine is leaking water - report it. If you come across an unsafe situation, don't walk away. Find another person to protect others from coming into contact with the unsafe environment while you alert the right people for help.
Remove non-working equipment
If you see that the Hoyer lift is not working properly, report it and remove it. If you can't remove non-working equipment from the unit, place a sign on the equipment that it is not working. Be sure to report this to your charge nurse or nurse manager as soon as possible.
Have you ever been lifting a patient only to feel that pop, twist, or burn in your back? Did you report it?
Most workplace injuries are minor and can be treated with some rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. But, what if you wake up tomorrow and can't move? Even if it seems like a "small" injury - report it right away. You don't have to seek immediate attention for the injury to be reportable.
Be part of the solution
You walk down the hall and see a new CNA turning Mr. Smith, a 350-pound bedridden patient. The CNA is a petite woman in her early 20's. She is leaning over the bed that has not been raised to her height. What do you do?
Don't be afraid to speak up and help others out if you see them doing something that could cause them or a patient physical harm. It is always best to stop and help someone who may need more education. Be part of their safety team, even if it means it will take you a bit longer to walk down the hall.
Have a safety buddy
Whether it is on the unit or in the parking lot, having a safety buddy helps keep everyone safe. Your buddy may be the first person you go to when you need help moving a patient. They may also walk with you to your car late at night or during severe weather.
Safety buddies help keep you safe through accountability.
As you go through the rest of June, be sure to think about your safety. If you see something unsafe at work, follow your facility policy to ensure the right people know about the issue.
Do you have other workplace safety tips? Share your suggestions in the comments. We would love to hear them.
About Melissa Mills, BSN
Melissa Mills has been a nurse for 20 years. She is a freelance writer, career coach, and owner of makingspace.company. She enjoys writing about leadership, careers, lifestyle, and wellness.
Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 218; Likes: 715
Freelance Writer, Nurse Case Manager, Professor; from OH , US