National Safety Month Urges Focus on a Safe Workplace

It sounds simple: a safety-focused workplace helps alleviate and reduce the number of accidents. However, today’s fast-paced, hectic world can present many roadblocks to a safe work environment.

June is National Safety Month and a time each year where all staff and managers are reminded to review and take note of the elements that can provide a safer workplace. The National Safety Council estimates that despite all the advances that have been made in safety, preventable work-related deaths have increased 17.5%. The number of workers during that time has increased 8.2%.

Safety Manager Cathy Herrera explained that slips, trips and falls were the most common types of accidents recorded and occurring in Monarch sites. In 2018, 25 “slips, trips or falls” were tallied across the state at Monarch.

“The best way to avoid slips, trips and falls is by being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to where you are walking,” said Herrera. “Our most significant issue and number one safety hazard is awareness of your surroundings.”

Another prevalent safety hazard that Herrera noted is trying to accomplish too many tasks at one time leaving some tasks incomplete.

“Multitasking or that we have too much on our plate causes an ignorance of what is safe. That is the life we live today whether at work or our personal life,” Herrera said. “We don’t take time to rest and be aware. We are trying to do too much and awareness for safety has slipped through the cracks.”

Herrera advised staff to slow down, prioritize tasks and ask for help if needed: “Allow yourself enough time to complete your task before going on to the next assignment.”

Taking note of behavioral signals from the people we support will aid in avoiding possible issues. “Look for cues to avoid situations that may occur. Make sure to be respectful of the personal space of the people we support who may seem agitated. Be aware of the people we support, their actions and frustrations, and act accordingly,” she suggested.

Herrera emphasized for staff to follow proper lifting techniques and guidelines, which can aid in reducing the number of accidents. Being aware of surroundings when lifting and incorporating safe lifting practices whether for boxes or groceries helps in assuring safety, she endorsed.

The Environment of Care Committee (EOC) meets monthly to review drills, safety tasks and compliancy. The members of the EOC includes: Risk Manager Linn Bernhardt; Pence Place Residential Manager Angela House; Executive Assistant Lisa Lisk; Administrative Assistant, Facility Services Cheryl Kimrey; Robeson FBC Program Director Kellie Thompson; Best Practice Team Member Jerome Conner; Director of Accreditation and Infection Control Angie Bjorklund; Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer Terri Berhnhardt; Chief Technology Officer Andy Bassinger; Vice President of Risk Management Amy Boone; Behavioral Health Practice Administrator Sarah O’Horo-Nash; Behavioral Health Administrative Team Lead Tracy Joyce; Harnett PSR Program Manager Ladonna Marsh; and Stephanie Allen, Continual Readiness Coordinator.

In an effort to aid staff at all Monarch sites and inform families of the people we support, an Emergency Preparedness page was recently published to the Monarch website and will include scenario-based safety responses, information and contacts to insure appropriate actions during crisis events.

The most critical aspects of safety management are to be prepared and stay alert. “You can’t control the situation but you can be prepared for the situation,” Herrera reminded. “Pledge to be safe in your daily life and think of about the safest way to do things as you do them. Safety is something that everyone should implement in our daily lives and at work – wherever we are.

Photo caption: Safety Manager Cathy Herrera.