June is National Safety Month

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Did you know that June is National Safety Month? One of the key issues in safety is accidental injury. What better time to think about using safe practices at work, home and on the job than this month? According to the National Security Council, out of 182,479 deaths from injuries in 2009, 68% of them were caused by unintentional injury. The majority of these deaths, 77% in fact, took place in homes and motor vehicles. While tremendously sad, it also brings up the question of the effect and cost of injury on the number accidental deaths in the United States.

The cost of accidental injury

Have you ever put a price tag on being safe? Well according to a National Safety Council report, in 2009, the total cost of unintentional injury was $693.5 billion dollars. That sounds like an unimaginable amount of money but when you break it down it becomes clearer. The cost can be broken into 6 main areas: wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative expenses, motor vehicle damage, employers' uninsured costs, and fire loss. The largest category is wage and productivity loss. When someone is injured, it limits the money they bring in and therefore the money they spend. Do you see how that affects the wealth of the nation? Medical expenses can mount up quickly but think about the administrative expenses. When someone is injured, the cost incudes insurance claims, police and legal fees just to name a few things. You also have to factor in the value of damage to vehicles in crashes. We also must consider whether a company has an injured worker that was uninsured. There are costs associated with investigating the injuries, getting replacement or temporary workers, and paying those that are not injured who may have to work overtime to compensate for the injured. Finally contemplate the after effects of fire and the cost of replacing crops or vehicles or buildings. According to the National Safety Council's 2009 survey, the cost of all the injuries is equivalent to 84 cents of every dollar paid in federal personal income taxes or 50 cents of every dollar spent on food in the US. Isn't it amazing how quickly an injury can become very expensive?

Leading unintentional injuries

When deaths are referred to as accidental or unintentional, it covers most deaths from injury or poisoning. These deaths range from babies to senior citizens. The leading causes of injury are poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, falls, choking, drowning, fire, and suffocation. According to a National Safety Council report, unintentional injuries are the 5th leading cause of death overall and first among people ages 1 to 44 years old. It's interesting to note that these deaths are at their lowest level for both males and females from about age 4 to age 13.

What are some good safety tips?

Did you know that 9 out of 10 deaths occur away from the job? It's so important for people to use good safety practices both at home and at work. The National Safety Council has a number of resources on their website to help your family and workplace be safe. Many of these practices center around awareness. Because one of the leading causes of accidental death is motor vehicle accidents, here are just a few tips to keep in mind from the NSC's Daily Safety Tips from 2011. · No distracted driving! If you need to talk or text while driving, pull over to a safe place and put your vehicle in park. · Restrict passengers for teen drivers. Every additional teen passenger greatly increases the risk of being in a fatal crash · Wear seatbelts! An estimated 2 out of 3 teens who die are not buckled up. · Change your Voicemail. Modify one of your greetings to indicate that you are unavailable while driving. Whether it is June and National Safety Month or not, let's all work together and be safe to avoid injury and accidental death!

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