They happen when you least expect them: While doing chores around the house, driving across town, or going about your day at work. Unintentional injury-related deaths are at an all-time high, with more than 146,000 people dying from them in 2015. Luckily, there are several simple ways to prevent such injuries in your home, at work and on the road.
Safety at home – prevent falls
Many unintentional injury-related deaths can be attributed to falls – more than 30,000 people died of falls in 2015. It’s the third-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death over all ages, but it’s the number one cause of death for those 65 and older. While falls can happen anywhere, they are most likely to occur at home. Here’s what you can do to make your home a fall-proof one:
- Remove clutter, small furniture, electrical cords or anything else that may cause someone to trip.
- Arrange or remove furniture so there is plenty of room for walking.
- Secure carpets to the floor.
- Wipe up spills immediately.
- Make sure outdoor areas are well lit, and walkways are smooth and free from ice (ice doesn’t fit for summer).
- Use non-slip adhesive strips on stairs.
- Use nonskid mats or appliques in the bath and shower.
- Place nightlights in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways.
For homes with older family members, additional measures may need to be taken, as older people are more susceptible to falls.
- Install grab bars in the tub, shower and near the toilet.
- Install railings on both sides of stairs.
- Make often-used items such as food and clothing more accessible,, If necessary, provide personal walking devices, such as a cane or walker, to assist with stability.
Safety at work
Every seven seconds in the United States, a worker is injured on the job, meaning that nearly 13,000 workers are injured each day. Everything from cuts and lacerations to sprains, strains or tears can happen at work. In order to make your workplace safer and prevent injury for you and your colleagues, here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
- Avoid bending, reaching and twisting when lifting heavy objects.
- Take frequent short breaks when engaging in physically demanding labor.
- Store heavy objects close to the floor.
- Be aware of moving equipment/objects in your work area.
- Wear the proper protective equipment.
- Use good housekeeping practices.
Safety on the road
Some of the most easily preventable fatalities occur on the road. In 2015, more than 38,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Of these, the three biggest causes were alcohol, speeding and distracted driving.
- Drinking and driving – While many drivers will recognize drinking and driving as a serious threat, more than one in eight drivers will admit to driving in the past year when they thought they were close to or over the legal blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. Drivers can be impaired after just one drink and simply should not drive if they have been drinking.
- Distracted driving – Many distractions exist behind the wheel, but cell phones are one of the top because drivers use them for long periods of time each day. While many drivers view texting and driving as a top danger, it can be just as distracting to talk on the phone. The brain can switch back and forth between two tasks quickly, but cannot do two things at the same time. Activity in the part of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to one-third when listening or talking on a phone, making it increasingly difficult to drive. While you’re driving, your safest bet is to put your cell phone away and in “do not disturb” mode if the feature is available. No phone call or text message is worth losing your life.
If injuries do occur, Arkansas Specialty Orthopaedics is here to help. Please contact us for an appointment so we can help you get back on your feet!