Orlando, FL —The National Safety Council and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today announced plans to work jointly to improve the safety and health of the American public outside of the workplace. Both organizations formalized their commitment to work together by signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the country’s first-ever Off-The-Job Safety Symposium organized by NSC.
"A startling trend is unfolding as more than half of all unintentional injury deaths occur in our nation’s homes and communities,” said NSC President and CEO Alan C. McMillan. “The National Safety Council is moving to aggressively educate consumers and businesses alike about this emerging safety and health concern with an emphasis on preventing injuries in residential, recreational, municipal, educational and community settings. Our partnership with CDC’s Injury Center will further advance these efforts.”
According to NSC data, falls are the leading cause of unintentional death in the home or community, followed by poisoning, choking, drowning and fire. CDC reports current annual costs associated with falls for people age 65 or older at more than $27 billion annually. By 2020, CDC projects these costs will exceed $43 billion.
NSC is the principal organization working with members of Congress to develop older adult falls prevention legislation. The pending “Keeping Seniors Safe from Falls Act” in the U.S. Senate would provide a framework for a comprehensive national education program, research agenda and prevention initiatives.
NSC also is leading efforts to reduce injuries and deaths in the home. The award-winning 10-minute video, “Safe Haven: Your Home Should Be the Safe Haven You Want It to Be”, identifies dangers inside the home and provides tips to correct the hazards. An interactive CD-ROM allows for a customized, room-by-room list of home safety hazards with an explanation of those hazards and detailed solutions to eliminating them.
One specific hazard in homes in the United States is a high level of indoor radon, a leading cause of lung cancer. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend all homes be tested for radon. NSC’s Indoor Air Quality Program recently added a “Radon Fix-It” program to its consumer information services. The program, funded by a grant from the EPA, includes a 24-hour radon hotline (800-SOS-RADON) and helpline (800-55-RADON) staffed by NSC air quality information specialists.
“We really believe there is potential to make a positive impact on individuals, families and communities,” McMillan added. “We cannot wait until a crisis forces us to commit to working together to create safer homes and communities. By collaborating with CDC, we hope to accelerate our efforts to prevent injuries not only where we work but also where we live.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began studying home and recreational injuries in the early 1970s and violence prevention in 1983. From these early activities grew a national program to reduce injury, disability, death and costs associated with injuries outside the workplace. In June 1992, CDC established the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. As the lead federal agency for injury and violence prevention, CDC’s Injury Center works closely with other federal agencies, state and local health departments, non-profit organizations and research institutions.
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.