It strikes when you least expect it – especially in the summer. With all of the opportunities for summer recreational activities, it is important to understand the potential risks during off-the-job activities, keeping your summer full of good, healthy fun.
Exposure can Sneak-Up on You
As the weather gets warmer, so does the potential for danger; a simple, beautiful summer day can also be your worst enemy. Summer activities involving high air temperatures, such as hot weather and direct sun, summer-related functions, or strenuous physical activities have a high potential for causing off-the-job health and safety issues.
Here are just a few summer activities that can become dangerous and how to lower your risk for accidents and incidents:
GRILLING - In 2005-2009, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,400 structure fires and 4,800 outside fires. These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
Safety Tips for Grilling from the NFPA:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
- Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
SPORTS - The Center for Disease Control reports that 318 people die each year from heat-related illnesses, some or all of which could be prevented by adequate hydration and heat protection.
Stay safe playing sports with these safety tips:
- Make sure you are properly hydrated before recreational play and after.
- Lather up on sunscreen (and don’t forget to reapply!)
- Learn the symptoms of and how to handle heat related illnesses.
- If riding a bike or doing any other activity that may result with a head injury, wear a helmet
- Wear protective, properly fitting equipment
BOATING - The 2011 statistics gathered in the Boating Accident Report Database report that nearly 70% of all fatal recreational boating accident victims died from drowning. Of those victims, 84% were not wearing a personal flotation device. In 2011, there were 4588 accidents, 758 deaths, 3081 injuries, and $52 million in damage reported from recreational boating accidents.
The Recreational Boating Industry offers these safety tips when you are boating:
- Always wear your life jacket
- Stay low in the boat and maintain three points of contact
- Keep one person in the boat while loading supplies
- Keep three points of contact if you reach outside the hull of the boat
- Keep an even, balanced load
- Do not attach the anchor line to the stern of the boat
- Stay low in the boat when pulling up the anchor
- Head the bow of the boat directly into the seas or up to a 45 degree angle in rough waters
- Don’t exceed allowable weight, horsepower rating, or maximum number of people
FIREWORKS - Approximately 9300 people nationwide are seriously injured by fireworks every year, with 40% of all fireworks related injuries due to illegal fireworks that have been banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Every year, fireworks are the reason for 400 Americans to lose sight in one or both eyes, for more than 20,000 fires every year, and for approximately 4 deaths.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety has some safety tips for you:
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Obey local laws. If fireworks are not legal where you live, do not use them.
- Always have water handy. (A hose or bucket).
- Only use fireworks as intended. Don’t try to alter them or combine them.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a “designated shooter.”
- Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.
- Do not ever use homemade fireworks or illegal explosives: They can kill you! Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.
Summit Can Help!
We have our very own “Off-the-Job Safety: Fun in the Sun” DVD* to ensure your summer activities are full of fun – and safety. This course covers:
- Water sport safety
- Fireworks and associated hazards
- Preventing overexertion
- The sun and its effects
- Warm-up and cool-down sessions for physical activities
*This DVD is also Summit’s Feature of the Month… meaning it’s only $300, $95 off of list price!
Have fun with your off-the-job projects! And remember to stay safe!
~Get Social with Summit Training Source, now a part of the Health and Safety Institute~
Twitter: Sara Wesche @SafetyTraining1