It’s time to repair broken steps, clean out the medicine cabinet, and install lighting in dim hallways – June is National Safety Month. This event, which brings national attention to accident prevention, is sponsored by the National Safety Council (NSC), a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
During National Safety Month, NSC helps Americans to prevent injuries and accidental deaths by calling attention to common safety and health risks. Each week during the month of June is dedicated to publicizing a different safety risk; this week, June 23-27, focuses on “Falls Prevention.”
The National Safety Month Web site provides a list of tips for protecting against accidental falls, both at home and at work:
· Aisles, stairs and walkways should be clutter-free; spills should be wiped, dropped objects picked up and cabinet drawers closed when not in use.
· Use handrails in stairways; take one step at a time and report or repair broken stairs or loose stair coverings.
· Apply nonskid floor coatings and slip-resistant mats where falls are likely. Slow down and take small steps when walking on a wet or slippery surface.
· Inspect ladders before and after every use.
The Web site also includes specific tips for aging adults, including:
· Wear proper footwear. Athletic shoes greatly reduce the risk of falls among the elderly. The risk of falling increases if in stocking feet or barefoot.
· Use non-skid throw rugs to reduce chances of slipping on linoleum.
· Store frequently used items in easy-to-reach areas.
· Exercise regularly. The stronger the body, the more likely a person is to sustain a fall with minimal injury.
Following these tips, as well as the others detailed on the National Safety Month Web site, promotes safety around the home, on the road, and at the workplace. Voluntary consensus standards can help to ensure the effectiveness of these suggestions in preventing accidents and injuries.
Several American National Standards provide safety requirements for ladders. ANSI A14.1-2007, Ladders - Wood - Safety Requirements, prescribes rules and establishes minimum requirements for the construction, testing, care, and use of portable wood ladders. Metal ladders are also covered by standards for safety: ANSI A14.2-2007, Ladders - Portable Metal - Safety Requirements provides equivalent safety standards for metal ladders. These standards were developed by the American Ladder Institute (ALI), an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer.
Slip-resistant mats, ideal for slick floors at work and at home, are also covered by an American National Standard. ANSI/ASSE A1264.2-2006, Standard for the Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking/Working Surfaces is especially relevant to aging adults, who may be faced with more serious consequences from a fall. This standard was developed by ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
Whether climbing high at work or walking leisurely through the home, consumers are protected by standards that ensure safety and reduce injuries. Visit the National Safety Month Web site for more information on safety and accident prevention.