June Marks National Safety Month!

“Fate is the hunter for those least prepared.” – Ernest K. Gann

June is National Safety Month! This month celebrates a more secure future for our roads, workplaces, homes, and communities while reminding us of a forgotten perspective in American culture — the importance of safety in a fast-paced, stressed-out world. This extended commemorative season addresses our cultural need to minimize the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths by identifying what those dangers are and, more importantly, how to avoid them. Research shows that 99% of accidents are preventable, so there’s no excuse for acting recklessly.

The beginning of summer introduces an ideal time to pay closer attention to safety. Why is this? More accidents occur in the summer than any other time of year. Not to alarm you, but the number of traumatic injuries treated in the ER doubles during the summer. And the warm months can be fatal for teens since teen drivers are more likely to die in an accident during the summer than any other season.

One of the biggest problems with safety lies in the perpetuation of silly and potentially destructive safety myths. Here are a few you’re most likely to hear all year round:

  • Safety is just common sense — People perceive and therefore practice varying degrees of risk tolerance. Would you trust the common sense of someone who lived for thrills or the person who had a less impulsive approach to life? Everyone has common sense — we all just apply it in different ways. Which brings me to my next point…


  • Passing safety audits or meeting OSHA standards means you will stay safe — This is a huge fallacy too. Ignoring your common sense and trusting protocols to get you through won’t optimize your safety either.

    According to IRMI, the International Risk Management Institute, “No rulebook can ever cover every situation, a reality that even OSHA recognizes. Through the catch-all clause known as the “General Duty,” OSHA essentially states that if a situation arises with hazards you recognize but which is not covered by a rule, you have the obligation to fix the problem as though a rule existed.”


  • I didn’t get injured, so whatever I was doing must be safe — Eventually, this thinking will catch up with you if you’re not careful, so check yourself (before you wreck yourself).


  • Safety programs for the company will break our budget — We’re dismayed, quite frankly, that some project managers and other management could actually believe this. Do you know how much injuries cost? How about workers’ sick time or insurance hikes? Consider this before stashing the cash elsewhere.  


Additionally, take heed of a few safety myths that you’re more likely to hear during the summer. For example, do you subscribe to the belief that once you’ve tanned once (gotten your “base tan”), you’re free to roam outdoors without SPF protection? Many people do. Here are a few more to take note of as we approach the first official day of the beloved season:


  • A tan makes you healthier — According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, any sign of tans or burns shows damage, no matter how much we all hate to hear it. Your skin doesn’t have to peel or burn, as we mentioned earlier. Also, a base tan provides only a tiny SPF protection after the initial tanning session… between one or four percent.


  • You can’t get a sunburn if the sun’s not shining — If you think you can work outside for eight or more hours on a cloudy day without a single worry of sun damage, you’re sadly mistaken. The UV index, although probably not sufficient to cause painful burning, will slowly but surely harm your skin.


  • Chlorine kills all the bacteria in swimming pools – This one is a partial myth. Think of a swimming pool like a jumbo jet — all those offensive germs from everyone else in your immediate space are swimming around together. Chlorine will kill some of the offenders, but anything seriously gross that the human body produces will likely be immune. 


  • Sweating rids your body of harmful toxins — Sweat doesn’t even have toxins — or, at least, not enough to hurt you — so there’s no logical way sweating can release toxins from your body. According to a study by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, sweat only contains a trace amount of toxins and “sweating for the sake of sweating has no benefits. Sweating heavily is not going to release a lot of toxins.”


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