National Safety Month: 3 Loss Site Dangers You Should Be Aware Of

Did you know that every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job? That adds up to a staggering 4.5 million injuries per year.1

Stats like those make it easy to understand why the National Safety Council (NSC) helps promote National Safety Month every June. This year’s theme is No One Gets Hurt and the NSC has a different focus area for each week of June:2

  • Week 1: Emergency Preparedness
  • Week 2: Wellness
  • Week 3: Falls
  • Week 4: Driving

Since safety is Interstate’s top priority, we wanted to spend some time highlighting some of the top dangers and safety considerations at any loss site.

Potential Loss-site Dangers are Everywhere
A natural or manmade disaster can quickly turn your building or office into a Pandora’s Box of hazards. Since there are so many different dangers lurking at any loss site, it’s often best to wait for professionals to assess dangers and clear hazards. Here are 3 reasons why.

Health Risks
Whether your building has been damaged by flooding, a fire or other incident, there may be hazards that aren’t easy to spot. For example, depending on the source of flooding/category of water, allergens or other toxins may need to be cleaned and removed before the building is safe to enter. Fires can also release hidden dangers, such as asbestos and chemicals from hazardous materials stored onsite, so you may need the help of a certified contractor to assess whether or not you have special considerations that may need to be addressed.

Tip: If you have any doubts about the safety of entering a building after a loss, wait for professional help. Also be sure to secure the building to prevent employees, tenants, looters or curious onlookers from entering the building and hurting themselves.

Tripping Hazards
Slips, trips and falls account for 25% of injuries in the workplace that result in lost days of work.3 They are also the second-highest cause of workplace fatalities.4 So you can imagine that at a loss site the dangers increase exponentially. That’s why it’s especially important to take steps to reduce the likelihood of slips, trips and falls at loss sites and in your workplaces in general.

Tip: Restrict access to any areas with potential tripping hazards until the issue has been resolved.

Structural Hazards
Natural and manmade disasters alike can lead to damages that compromise stability in parts or all of a building. A fire, earthquake or tornado are the more obvious culprits for damaging the integrity of a building. But even water damage from a flood that is not addressed properly can affect the integrity of key materials and thus the building. When you’ve been through an event that could have potentially damaged the integrity of a structure, it’s especially important to get a professional assessment to make sure you don’t overlook any potential hidden dangers.

Safety First—Always
Clearly, it’s important to understand the unknowns that can lead to dangers and safety risks at a loss site. It’s even more important to keep in mind that general workplace fatalities have been on the rise in the past few years, so safety needs to be a constant focus in every business.5 The NSC has a host of resources for safety awareness and training, so be sure to check them out during this important month. And if you have any questions about a loss or safety on a loss site, give us a call. 

Sources:
1 Workplace Injuries Infographic, National Safety Council. 
2 June is National Safety Month, National Safety Council. 
3 Workplace Injuries Infographic.
4 Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention Training, National Safety Council.
5 Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2016 Workforce Deaths Highest in 7 Years, National Safety Council. 

About the Author: John Hogan
John is Director of Safety at Interstate. With nearly 20 years' experience managing corporate safety programs, he specializes in developing industry leading safety processes and procedures to ensure the safety of employees, clients and the public on jobsites. John holds numerous professional certifications including OSHA 500 & 501 and Safety Management from the American Society of Safety Engineers.