While every day requires an equal commitment to workplace safety, the month of February offers unique opportunities to spotlight special topics.
This month is American Heart Month and it also includes National Burn Awareness Week. These are good reminders to review common workplace safety procedures that are related to heart health and burn prevention. February safety topics can also include safe winter driving tips, as this month can also bring severe weather.
Heart Health at Work
- Use care when lifting to avoid stressing the heart. Lift with your legs and avoid straining. Dollies, hand trucks, and other tools can help make lifting easier; consider asking others to help lift items that are very heavy.
- Know your own heart health and consider that when taking action at work. Get an annual physical and follow up on any concerns raised by your doctor. If you’re prescribed medication, take it according to your doctor’s directions. Get enough exercise and sleep. Eat a balanced diet.
- Be aware of potential respiratory hazards in your workplace and how to eliminate or minimize them. If you’re not sure what these could be, ask.
- Continue your own safety education to improve your knowledge about heart health and the potential heart hazards in your workplace so that you can make the best possible decisions every day.
Preventing Burns at Work
- Be familiar with potential burn hazards in your workplace and the personal protective equipment (PPE) required to protect yourself. Know when and how to use it, and learn the signs that your PPE needs replacement.
- If you notice conditions that could cause burns, take action. What can you do to alleviate the immediate threat? How can you communicate this information quickly to coworkers to help ensure their safety, too? What needs to happen to reduce or remove the threat completely?
- Learn the first aid techniques necessary to treat burn injuries until first responders arrive.
Safe Winter Driving Tips
- Winter driving often means traveling on snowy, icy or slushy roads. Ensure that your vehicle’s tires are in good condition. If your area regulates snow tires or chains, follow those regulations.
- Remember that it will take your vehicle a longer distance to stop on slippery roads.
- Communicate to coworkers where you are going and when you expect to be back. That way, if something should happen, like you skid off the road or break down, your coworkers know where to start looking for you.
- Keep cold-weather supplies in the vehicle in case you do get stranded. Pack a bottle of water, snacks, a hat, an extra pair of gloves, and a small snow shovel.
Workplace safety is important every day of the year. But February safety topics give us a chance to focus on some ideas that are worthy of prominence.
Heart health, burns, and safe winter driving can affect workers in any industry. Spend a little time learning more about how your workplace is prepared for each of these safety issues so that you’ll be prepared to meet these challenges.