Summertime Wellness Challenges to Keep Your Employees Safe this Summer
Having an accident or sustaining an injury is never fun, but less so when it can potentially affect your work productivity and livelihood. Safety is just as important outside of work as it is in your workplace. Not only are you a valued employee but you’re also a mother, father, son, daughter, grandparent, friend, etc. Just like bears coming out of hibernation, when summer starts, the kids are getting out of school, the sun shines brighter and the days get longer.
Summertime is a fantastic time of the year! Here are some simple tips and tricks to practice this summer so that you can stay safe while maximizing the fun and adventure!
Pedestrian Street Smarts
In addition to distracted driving, distracted walking is a growing concern. In 2017, a Governor’s Highway Safety Association report stated, “nearly 6,000 pedestrians were struck and killed by motor vehicles.” It’s possible that number will only increase with the continued attention on our smartphones and devices. By not focusing on our surroundings, we are not only putting ourselves in danger but others as well. Follow these tips to enhance your street smarts as you are out and about this summer!
- Look both ways: a second time if necessary! If your view is obstructed, move so that you can have a clear line of sight to cross
- Be sure drivers see you by making eye contact (also remember that vehicles do have blind spots)
- Avoid the use of your cell phone, headphones, or other electronic devices while walking: headphones can prevent you from hearing a car coming, and looking down to text message can lead to you to trip/fall, or not see an oncoming car
- Never count on a car to slow down or stop
- Walk with friends or in a group
- Wear bright and/or reflective clothing (especially at night!)
- Cross the streets at designated crosswalks
As we embark on the summer months, it’s more important than ever to make sure that you stay hydrated so that your body is able to perform its normal tasks efficiently. Often times, we don’t realize the effects that the summer heat or our work environment can have on us, and before we know it, we are dehydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and if conditions are poor enough, it can contribute to heat-related illnesses. Grab some friends and work together to drink enough water this summer to fill up a hot tub (51,200 ounces or 400 gallons)!
Summertime is synonymous with barbecues, s’mores, and fireworks, but nothing will dampen the fun faster than an accident or injury. Being mindful around the flame doesn’t mean less fun, in fact, it will allow the fun to continue on well into those cool summer nights! It’s also a great opportunity to teach your children fire safety habits as well! Whether you are in the backyard, at the park, or in the mountains, check out this challenge to keep the risk of fire low and the fun ablaze.
- Make sure firepits and grills are at least three (3) feet away from any structure or combustible surface (Check the firepit/grill manual to see if it can be placed on grass or wooden decks)
- Use fire starters or kindling
- Keep a bucket of sand, fire extinguisher, or water source nearby and make sure to fully extinguish a campfire before shutting down for the night or walking away
- Keep your grill clean to avoid fat or leftover grease fires
- Use metal screens with your firepit to prevent sparks from flying free
- Wear protective eyewear when handling fireworks
- Leave grills, firepits, or campfires unattended
- Use gasoline to start fires
- Try to light a fire when it’s windy or when there is a burn ban
- Sit too close to the campfire
- Leave children unattended around firepits, campfires, or grills
- Operate fireworks under the influence of alcohol
Protecting Your Pets
According to the 2018 General Social Survey, 58% of Americans own dogs and/or cats. Our pets are members of our family and as such, we need to protect them from the heat of the summer as well. Like humans, cats and dogs can be susceptible to heat exhaustion and heat stroke during the summer months. Start implementing some of these tips so that this is the first of many fun summers with your furry companions!
- Let your pet play with/eat ice cubes
- Utilize cooling mats
- Keep on top of grooming. Trim or brush your pet but do NOT shave as their coat can act as a way to cool or prevent sunburn.
- Don’t leave your pet in the car: it only takes 30 minutes for the inside temperature of a car to rise from 85o to 120o
- Don’t leave pets unsupervised by water
- Be mindful of hot asphalt
- Be mindful of food and drinks found at picnics and barbeques that can be harmful to your pet
- Keep your pet away from chemicals used in the garden, tiki torches, citronella candles, swimming pools etc. (They are very poisonous to your pet if ingested*)
- Acclimatize your pets to longer walks and hikes in the heat
Some areas of the country are blessed with a minimal bug presence during the summer months. But in some way, shape or form, we can all be affected and susceptible to being bitten. Traveling to different states, countries and unfamiliar places can also increase your chances of being a mosquito’s afternoon snack! Look at this challenge to learn some simple tips that you can implement as you travel or get outdoors so that you can focus solely on fun with friends and family this summer!
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – registered insect repellents (Ex: DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone). Reapply as needed
- Follow specific instructions on repellants for children vs. adults
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants (pre-treated gear is recommended). Optional: tuck your pants into your socks/boots
- Check your skin, and your pets, for ticks every day. This is especially important if you know they are common in your area
- Wash and dry clothes in a hot dryer to kill ticks
- Be mindful when propping doors or leaving windows open
- Run your AC; mosquitoes prefer warm, dark, and damp places
- Check out information from the CDC on tick removal. Also be aware of the onset of symptoms of tick-borne illnesses
- If traveling abroad, be sure to check with CDC on the Zika risk for your area of travel. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, you should be aware and cautious
The snow has melted, and summer is here in full force! Time to dust off the bikes, uncover the pool, and hit the trails! This challenge includes a list of safety tips as they pertain to certain activities. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of all summer activities but by applying just one you can take a step closer to a safer summer! This summer we want you to be up and out, not down and in. Whatever you love to do this time of year, we want to encourage you to be safe.
- Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses
- Awareness of the nearest medical station
- Designated driver (as needed)
- Insect spray or repellant
- Eye protection, ear plugs, gloves, and other yardwork or gardening safety equipment
- Kneeling pad
- Sunscreen and hat
- Know the rules of the road
- Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
- Water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Insect spray or repellant
- Lightweight, neon or reflective clothing
- Headlamp/flashlight for walking around campsites or hikes after dark
- Navigation tools: map, compass
- Share your plans with others before you go: location, expected return
- Check equipment before heading out
- Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses
- Life jackets or floaties
- Know the rules of the water – this is important!
- First aid kit
- Do not operate a boat under the influence of alcohol
We understand safety can be a “buzz kill” but the ultimate buzz kill is an accident or an injury that takes you out of the fun altogether. Utilize these challenges to be more mindful this summer so that you, your friends and family (and your pets) can make the most out of every moment together!