Written By Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist
When most think of the word “safety” they will most likely relate it to some means of occupational activity like construction, office ergonomics or manufacturing. What we don’t necessarily think about is all the safety that is required at home. Even though it may be the place where you find yourself the most comfortable, it may also contain hazards that could potentially harm you, your pets or family. While there are several types of hazards, they can all be grouped into two categories to determine how to protect yourself in the best possible way: Health Hazards and Physical Hazards.
Health Hazards can be classified as anything that could cause illness to you or anyone else in your household. This can range from carbon monoxide poisoning, to accidental drug usage, to radon poisoning, to chemical poisoning. The National Safety Council estimates that 52,000 people were killed in their homes in 2017 due to poison related incidents. Employers are required to keep inventory of what hazardous substances are on-property. You should ensure that you keep an inventory (or an idea) of what is in your house! For things you can’t control, such as dangerous gasses and vapors, get CO detectors (and regularly change the batteries), other gas monitors and conduct annual radon tests. Radon should not only be measured when you first purchase a house. Summer levels of radon may be very different than winter levels, so ensure that you test in different seasons.
Chemicals, such as cleaners, solvents, oils, paints, detergents and anything else found in the garage or under the kitchen or bathroom sink, should all be consolidated as much as possible. If there are infants or young children in the house, place any liquid that should not be consumed, high up on a shelf or in a locked cabinet. Stop what you are doing right now and put in the Poison Control’s Hotline in your phone: 1-800-222-1222. You never know when you are going to need it! Ensure that when using cleaners, you do not mix ingredients that should not mix, such as bleach and anything with ammonia in it (which can create a mustard gas) or vinegar. Be careful not to leave out any type of medicine, OTC or prescribed. Not all medicine is labeled with what it is in the pill itself and you do not want to guess what it is. Do your part to protect the health of everyone in your home.
Physical Hazards are going to be just about everything else in your home that could cause injury or property damage, such as house fires, slippery floors and stairs without railings. Most accidents occur in two locations – bathroom and kitchen. That is because this is where there are generally slick surfaces, sharp objects, hot appliances and, typically, a lot more traffic.
Let’s address the most common concern first: home fires. Fires can result from a few different areas – cooking in the kitchen, portable heaters and electrical fires and smoking or candles. When in the kitchen, always keep an eye on things on the stove and in the oven. Never leave them unattended. Keep all your appliances, furnace, portable heaters, and all electrical cords, panels and objects up to date. Hire a professional for repairs if you are unsure of how to fix them. While candles can create lovely smells in the house, they should never be left in a room unattended, especially with pets in the home. Also, there should always be a fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Make sure it is inspected regularly.
The second biggest concern is slips, trips and falls, which is not only a concern for the elderly, but for all ages. Keep all hallways and high-traffic areas free of clutter and well-lit at night. Installing a second handrail on all your steps will reduce the chance of falling up or down the stairs. This includes the front porch, upstairs and downstairs. In the bathroom, use non-slip pads or traction stickers to prevent shower slips. And lastly, keep your home clean and your likelihood of injury will decrease!
For additional information, feel free to reach out to me, Daniel Aday, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 734-309-3456.