Why Should You Care About Safety?
Why should a graduating high school senior care about safety if they are not going into the trades? After all, these students are hoping to go into a work world where they will be protected. In 2015 the Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) reported over 2,900,000 recordable nonfatal injuries and illnesses in private industry. For the same period BLS reported 4,836 total fatal injuries.
These statistics were from all work sectors, not just the trades. People talk about safety, but they don’t often practice it. It’s not that people want to get hurt, or see anyone else get hurt, but being safe takes commitment and diligence. With all the compressed schedules and the “doing more with less,” people sometimes decide that it is more economical to do things in the quickest way possible, even if it means doing it a little less safely. Is this what we are teaching our children as they ready themselves for life after high school? Shouldn’t every high school student understand personal safety? If you had to hang curtains at home, would you go to the storage space to get the step stool, or would you just grab a nearby chair and use that. Many people make that quick, but unsafe decision every year. And not surprisingly, falls are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths at home.
You do not have to take an OSHA course to practice safety (although it wouldn’t hurt). But you need to consider how to do what you do in the safest way possible. Everything we do has an element of personal safety to it. Gardening: watch out for scratches or insect bites. Taking a walk: Watch out at crosswalks and look at the condition of the surface you are passing over. Clearing out some files: Watch out for your back. (15% of all of the nonfatal injuries noted above were sprains, strains, tears or back injuries.) Driving: Watch out for that other driver. When you drive, do you practice safe driving techniques? Do you speed or fail to yield because you have a time management problem? And does this failure at time management cause you to decide to drive unsafely. Do you text, make phone calls or eat while you drive?
These are the everyday things that do not seem safety related, but they are. Then we arrive at the world of work. Do we know what the hazards and unsafe conditions are where we work? Do we know what work requires special safety equipment? There are so many other instances in our everyday life that require us to consider our personal safety.
Ultimately, we are the one who is responsible for our personal safety. We should always care about safety, regardless of how much work it takes. We should prepare all of our students for a safe future. Remember, safety is no accident. You have to learn it and work at it.
This post was produced by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, a collaborative partner of Future Ready Massachusetts.