June is recognized in the United States as National Safety Month, but at Polydeck safety is a daily focus and an important part of our company culture.
This month, organizations throughout the United States recognize June as National Safety Month. Organizations such as the National Safety Council (NSC) provide information and materials that can help generate momentum in promoting safety in the workplace. The NSC exists to “Save lives, from the workplace to anyplace” and assists in providing information and resources to eliminate preventable injuries and deaths. However, at Polydeck, we’re committed to make every month Safety Month, and every day in each of our facilities Safety Day.
Now more than ever, we are all keenly aware of our own health, wellness and safety. For us, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our employees. Safety is not an accident, but it is instead a conscious culture. Polydeck strives to consciously and intentionally promote a culture of safety. Our employees are our most valuable asset and it is our highest responsibility to provide and maintain a work environment that is safe and welcoming.
This year, the NSC has focused on several key areas that affect worker safety both on and off the job. The focus areas of Mental Health, Ergonomics, Building a Safety Culture and Driving are also key areas of safety that Polydeck focuses on every day.
The NSC has made the connection between worker fatigue and safety through a recent survey. “The drowsiness, distraction and lack of alertness that is associated with fatigue can have devastating effects for both workers and organizations in terms of injuries and fatalities. The National Safety Council survey (2018) found that nearly all American workers (97%) have at least one risk factor of fatigue, with 43% of workers not obtaining the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a day. This reduces productivity and efficiency and increases the risk of injury.”1
Fatigue is a natural part of life and especially shift work, but we can all combat fatigue with attention to how we structure our work shifts and days. Take regular breaks during a work shift, and shorter frequent breaks are better than a single long break. Plan consistent work schedules in order to better plan for sleep during time between work periods and have regular predictable blocks of days off. Experts agree regular sleep and wake schedules help combat fatigue as well.
According to the NSC, “Ergonomic injuries are disorders of the soft tissue, specifically of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, blood vessels and spinal discs.” These injuries occur over time, and are not typically sudden injuries but are caused by poor posture, lifting improperly, and repeat improper movements.
In the NSC’s article, “Work Ergonomically anywhere,” many helpful tips are provided along with things to consider related to ergonomics. Many of the items that are suggested are also ones that we have been promoting as part of Polydeck’s safety culture:2
• Lift with your legs-not your back
• Keep frequently used items close to avoid twisting or turning often
• Use the right tools for the job
• Make sure work areas are well lit
Driving safety is a constant focus for Polydeck, and earlier this year we conducted “Safety talks” for our Sales team. These talks were intended to remind and reinforce best practices for safe driving at all times. Driving is an integral part of our business and we must all remain vigilant to drive safely and remove all distractions when we are behind the wheel.
Mental health has always been a safety priority, but its importance has become more evident in recent months due to the pandemic. Polydeck employees are encouraged to monitor their mental health and reach out to trusted friends, family, or appropriate professionals if they need help. Employees can also contact the Polydeck Employee Care team should if support is needed in this area.
June is officially recognized as National Safety Month, but at Polydeck we’d prefer to recognize safety as a priority every day. Safety begins and ends with each of us. We must focus on safety by creating a culture of safety and individually identifying hazards and ways to correct them. Each of us can initiate conversations about things we all can do to improve our safety culture at Polydeck. It is up to each of us to ensure Polydeck remains a safe and welcoming work environment so that we can accomplish our goals together. Join us over on LinkedIn as we highlight safety tips all month long.
Written by Robbie Miller, Environment, Health and Safety Manager for Polydeck.