Safety: A Long View of Workplace Safety
AIHA is taking a three-pronged approach in its efforts to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses.
Safety • American Industrial Hygiene Association
Every day, nearly 275 people in the United States alone die from occupational injuries and illnesses, many from workplace hazards they were exposed to long ago.
“One of the challenges is workplace illnesses don’t happen right away,” says Lawrence Sloan, CAE, CEO of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. “If you know you need to wear personal protective equipment to protect your hearing in 20 or 30 years, you may not see the immediate value and not always wear your personal protective equipment.”
Preventing serious illnesses like cancer, neurological disorders, and lung diseases or injuries like hearing loss requires current precautions against something that likely won’t cause noticeable harm for many years. So how to get employers and workers to attend to those risks earlier?
AIHA takes a three-pronged approach to outreach. First, the organization educates professionals to help them understand workplace dangers and how to protect themselves. Second, it reaches out to business leaders to ensure they invest in the personal protective equipment and training employees need to be safe. The third prong is aimed at high school students, getting them to think about being safe in their first jobs, so they carry that mentality forward into their careers.
“We can save a lot of lives,” Sloan says. “If the breadwinner dies and no longer can support his or her family, think of the domino effect that has for that family. For the workplace, significantly enhancing the longevity of employees is going to help companies become financially stronger.”