National Public Health Week: Injury prevention starts in the workplace

This column regularly appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. This week, it will appear daily for National Public Health Week. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Safety is everyone's job, but what exactly does that mean? Creating a safe work environment is the responsibility of yourself, your employer, and your coworkers. There are laws and guidelines for making your workplace safe and healthy, but there are some things that you can do for yourself to make sure that your workday doesn't turn into an unforeseen injury or accident.

Keep yourself safe at work by familiarizing yourself with the locations of important safety equipment, like fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Also, know where the emergency exits are. All exits should be clearly marked. If they are not, ask your employer to install signs designating exit routes. Be aware of your facility's plan for emergencies. Once an accident happens, it will be too late to learn this information.

Do your part to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Common causes of falls include belongings on the floor beside your desk, extension cords that run around the floor, ice on stairs or walkways, or spills that are not cleaned up. These hazards are easy to minimize, and removing them can keep someone (maybe you) from having to make a visit to the hospital or urgent care.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with proper handling and storage of any hazardous chemicals in your workplace, and see to it that any safety procedures are followed. Even some common cleaners may be harmful if you do not use appropriate gloves, eye protection or a face mask, or if the area is not properly ventilated. Chemicals could cause burns or other injuries if they get on your skin. Find out how to properly clean chemicals from your skin or eyes and keep the number for Poison Control near the phone.

Most importantly, follow your worksite's safety procedures, and don't be afraid speak up when you see something unsafe taking place. Being proactive will help ensure your safety and that of others. Remember, safety is no accident.

For more work-related safety tips, check out the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website:

For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at www.gethealthycarson or visit us on Facebook at Carson City Health and Human Services.


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