Near-fatal Crash, Lengthy Rehab Leads to New Dedication
They say things change in the blink of an eye. That was definitely true for me.
On May 1, 2012, my life changed in a profound way. I was on a routine business trip traveling through Lexington, KY, when a driver who was busy texting swerved across three lanes of traffic, flipping her car 360 degrees in the air and hitting the car I was riding in head-on. The accident closed down the highway for several hours as the EMT's extracted and transported the driver and myself from the car.
I was very lucky to live through the catastrophic crash; the doctors didn't expect me to survive. I was rushed into emergency surgery and then again later that evening to deal with complications from the initial procedure. What followed were months and months of rehabilitation and two years of missed work before things return to a "new normal."
It was a dark, desperate and frustrating time for me, having been robbed of the ability to think clearly due to a traumatic brain injury. It took the tenacity, persistence and belief of a great team of doctors and specialists to help me reach each and every recovery milestone. One thing I knew for certain through the entire recovery process was that I wanted to be a productive person again. I knew I wanted to do something meaningful with the rest of my life.
I was so fortunate to find that meaning by striving every day to save lives at the National Safety Council. I love working for NSC and often get emotional pulling into the parking lot each morning, knowing that I am helping to make the world safer and getting the chance to be part of such an extraordinary organization.
Erik Spurling is the Director of Field Sales for the National Safety Council.
Join us in saving lives by making a financial gift this holiday season to the National Safety Council. Between now and Dec. 31, your gift will be doubled!
Dow Commits to Safety for Midland, MI
Earlier this year, Midland, MI, became the first Safe Community accredited in the state and the 19th Safe Community accredited in the nation. The leader of the coalition pursuing accreditation for Midland was Dow, a company that called for a safer city where its employees lived and worked.
Members like Dow illustrate the critical impact corporate partners can have on reshaping the safety of a community.
After reviewing local data, Midland Safe Community (made up of police, fire and health departments, hospitals, schools and others) identified three major causes of injury and death: Senior fires, senior falls and suicide. They pulled together groups from the Fire Department, Senior Services and MidMichigan Medical Center to take the lead on fall prevention events, home modification and fire prevention.
Already this effort is showing a reduction in fires. Midland Safe Community also established mental health crisis training for law enforcement and engaged faith-based organizations to address suicide.
The work in Midland represents the Safe Community model, which aims to improve safety by having residents and officials address real issues derived from local data. By bringing together the support of major stakeholders like Dow, the Safe Communities model and the commitment of the people of Midland, the city now has the tools to reduce preventable deaths and create a safer, healthier place to live.
Learn how to become a Safe Community, or how to get involved in an existing Safety Community.
How to Spot Holiday Hazards
The holidays have plenty of traditions specific to the season, but safety is a year-round commitment. Stay focused on enjoying the season properly, so you, your colleagues and your family members arrive happy and healthy in the New Year.
It's important to be a responsible host. If you are serving alcohol, be sure guests have designated drivers. Also, make sure that the setting is secure; this can mean making sure hallways and aisles are clear of tripping hazards and all prescription medications are safely locked up.
Thousands of people travel for the holidays, and traveling starts with being attentive and alert. Put away your cell phone before you get behind the wheel and make sure you are alert and not fatigued. Drive appropriately for road conditions. Everyone in a vehicle should be wearing seatbelts, with children in size-appropriate restraints.
Cooking carries risks too, especially when chefs are using unfamiliar tools or working in unfamiliar kitchens. Turkey fryers can be popular this time of year, but they also pose an increased risk for fire and injuries. NSC discourages the use of turkey fryers, but for those who use such devices, remember to place them on flat ground away from the home, use a thawed, dry turkey and have a fire extinguisher ready.
Safe cooking also requiring using a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature, refrigerating food within two hours and washing your hands frequently when handling food.
If you choose to decorate your business or home, always use a proper step stool or ladder; do not stand on chairs or other furniture. Never use lighted candles near flammable items. When displaying a natural tree, cut about 2 inches off the trunk and place the tree in a sturdy stand, keeping the tree well watered so it does not dry out. Dry branches can catch fire from the heat of light bulbs.
Top NSC Honor Goes to Company with Commitment
The 2016 Robert W. Campbell Award was presented to USG Corporation, honoring the company and its commitment to making environmental, health and safety management a cornerstone of corporate excellence.
Presented in October at the NSC Congress & Expo, held in Anaheim, the Campbell Award recognizes exceptional integration of EHS management system into business practices. USG used this approach to create a culture of total employee engagement, from C-suite leaders to line workers.
This culture of engagement brought about measurable results that were substantial. USG earned recognition from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Mining Association and the United States Green Building Council. The company’s lost-time injury rate is 17 times better than industry average, .06 versus the manufacturing average of 1.0.
USG also set for itself a series of challenging goals, such as reducing plant waste, water usage and emissions. This helps the company and its employees maintain a mindset of continuous improvement.