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Managing Employee Safety at Home and Work

February 22, 2017

home-safety.jpgOne of the clichés in the occupational safety world is that our goal is to ensure that our employees get to go home each day the same way they came. The implication here is that we make them safe in the dangerous workplace until they can get to the safety of their homes. But what if home is not the safest place for them to be?

Recently a client asked to prepare a short presentation on some home safety issues to show at a family barbeque they had. In preparing the presentation, I decided to take a look at some statistics on home safety just to help me decide where to focus the presentation. What I found was rather depressing. According to the US Center for Disease Prevention and Control, in 2014 there were over 136,053 accidental deaths in the US. Consider this – in the same year, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 4,821 fatal injuries at work in the US. So, that means about 96% of all accidental deaths are outside of the workplace. Also consider that these numbers didn’t include the hundreds of thousands of disabling injuries suffered at work during the same period.

This is a little depressing for someone who spends so much time trying to make sure that people are safe at work. What this means is that we can do everything right in the workplace and then the worker goes home almost completely unprotected and all of our efforts to keep them safe are lost. If we really care about our employees this is just unacceptable. Furthermore, these injuries and fatalities at home cost businesses billions in lost productivity. Clearly something must be done. But what?

Depending on the industry you're in, there are many examples of things that can be done to help employees bring safety home. These can include:

  • Training on home hazards

  • Allowing employees to bring safety equipment home to work on projects

  • Encouraging employees to find and fix hazards at home.

Some programs that are effective at increasing employee safety at work may also be effective in helping to increase safety at home. For example, measuring employees' SafetyDNA and making them aware of their safety blindspots can be useful both in the workplace and at home. The key is to ensure that employees know that safety is not just something that needs to be done at work. Rather, safety is a value that each person in your organization needs to hold on to no matter where they are. That sounds a lot like a great safety culture, doesn’t it?

Our Guest Blogger this week is Ron Gantt, CSP, ARM, CET - Vice President of Safety Compliance Management. Ron has been an integral part of SCM for more than a decade. 

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