Be aware and see the risks

By Tyler J. Moffitt
The Safety Advocate

2010 has arrived!
Some of us made New Year’s resolutions. Other people look at each year as an opportunity to continuously improve while setting personal goals they would like to achieve.
Have you considered making your home and workplace a safer place to live and work?
We all need to be aware of—and see—the risks in our everyday lives as we go about our daily activities while at home, taking part in recreational activities, travelling, as well as in the workplace.
One of the greatest health and safety concerns facing all Canadians are injuries and injury-related deaths:
•Injuries are the leading cause of death for Canadians up to age 44.
•Injuries kill more people between the ages of one and 20 than all other causes of death.
•Thousands of other Canadian end up being treated for predictable and preventable injuries, which helps contribute to the annual health care cost of more than $8.7 billion.
Remember: “Injuries are not caused by accidents but are the result of predictable and preventable events!”
There are best safety practices in the world of health and safety that have been utilized throughout Canada and the rest of the world.
Best safety practices pertaining to all types of injuries and injury-related deaths are important.
My early experience in the fire service made me partial to fire and burn injuries, and injury-related deaths. Over the years, however, as the fire service evolved into the fire and rescue service, my partiality changed to include all injuries and injury-related deaths.
If all Canadians embraced just some of the following best safety practices, injuries and injury-related deaths in Canada would greatly be reduced.
•Have a smart risk behaviour!
Firstly, having a smart risk behaviour is a best practice, which consists of recognizing that risk exists in every situation (it’s part of life).
We all need to realize that we need to assess the degree of risk involved, as well as look at and choose a behaviour to avoid or minimize potential injury.
•Reduce the risk while driving motorized vehicles!
Every time we travel in a motor vehicle, we put ourselves at risk.
We can help reduce that risk by wearing our seat belt and following all the rules of the road, such as the speed limit, keeping a safe distance between ourselves and the vehicle ahead, as well as driving to the road and weather conditions.
Driving sober, with no impairment of any kind when you’re behind the wheel, is a best safety practice that complements the previous one.
•Understand the risks!
Before commencing with any type of activity, take the time to look first—understand the risks—and then make plans to manage them.
•Wear the correct gear!
I’ve met an individual who lost their sight in one eye after being stuck by a puck—all due to not having facial protection.
Wear the correct gear if you’re going to participate in any activity for which protective equipment is available!
•Get trained!
Get trained when you are involved in something that has any element of risk for yourself or others.
Get trained and ask for help!
All best safety practices pertaining to all types of injuries and injury-related deaths were not covered, but I will touch on them in future safety columns.
Take care, be aware, and see the risks.
Tyler J. Moffitt is a volunteer firefighter and emergency responder, as well as a continuous improvement advocate.

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