Safety Is An Everyday Priority

Keeping each other safe means targeting hazards old and new.

Deborah A. P. Hersman is the president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

​Each day, we face hazards at work, at home and on the road that we take completely for granted.

It's easy to get complacent about things you see and do every day. Things that seem routine – like a car crash on the side of the highway or a headline about an opioid overdose – are easy to ignore. We just accept them as normal.

But we don't have to. 

Last month, NSC recognized several organizations and individuals at our annual Green Cross Awards for Safety. The award winners have made a significant difference in their workplaces and communities.

It was amazing to be in a room full of people who get it, who have already become safety sponsors – people who are pushing for change and creating a safer world.

But coming back to the default world, those car crashes and overdoses are a daily reminder that we need so many more voices to raise awareness about the risks we face and the things we can do to keep each other safe.

We don't have to continue accepting preventable deaths and injuries as normal, as a necessary cost of doing business, or as a given.

Already we are making huge strides in workplace safety. Today, we are nine times more like to die off the job than on the job. That's progress.

But we also need to stay vigilant. As old hazards fade away, new hazards emerge.

We may not be at risk for radiation poisoning the way some workers were routinely exposed decades ago, but we face a looming opioid epidemic that affects workers on and off the job. 

We face hazards from fatigue on the road and at work, as well as a slew of electronic distractions behind the wheel.

Climate change threatens to make already hazardous jobs more risky by exposing workers to more severe weather, straining first responders, and making travel potentially more hazardous.

Almost 40% of worker fatalities happen on the road.

So we have some work to do.

Every one of us can choose to make safety a priority. We can lead by example, through advocacy, or becoming safety sponsors in our homes, in our cars, and in our workplaces.

National Safety Month provided us an opportunity to shine a light on safety, and to encourage more people to join us in eliminating preventable deaths. We have offered free resources all month long, as well as a webinar on preventable deaths, and those materials are still available today.

Please share with us on Twitter using #KeepEachOtherSafe, on Facebook or via e-mail to let us know what you are doing to make safety a priority at your work, on your commute and in your community.

Join with us. Choose safety.

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