National Safety Month: Working Safely at Home and on the Job

 

By Aqua Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Fox

Every day, Aqua provides the critical service of delivering Earth’s most essential resource to our customers and the communities we serve. In honor of National Safety Month, observed each June, Aqua is joining the National Safety Council to raise awareness of the risks associated with our work, and importance of working safely and reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and at home.

At Aqua, the safety of our employees is our number one priority. Each year, we conduct training and inspections, share monthly tips to foster awareness, perform worksite assessments and empower employees to stop work for safety concerns. Safeguards put in place by Aqua like fall restraints, hoists and automated systems not only make work easier, but also keep employees safe. Establishing and training employees on standard operating procedures helps protect them from risks.  

We expect all employees to work proactively to champion their own safety by avoiding shortcuts that put teammates at risk, wear appropriate personal protective equipment and fasten seatbelts every time they enter a vehicle.

The NSC has outlined four areas to focus on this National Safety Month, to prevent injuries and death on the job and at home. Aqua encourages customers and employees alike to practice these safety tips to avoid harmful accidents.

Falls:

Falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the U.S., and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from elevation were a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities in 2015. Simple tips, like eliminating tripping hazards and working carefully on ladders, can help prevent many falls at home and at work. Other ways to reduce fall hazards include:

  • Securing electrical and phone cords away from walking areas, such as hallways or in front of your desk.
  • Keeping drawers and cabinets closed when you’re not using them.
  • Cleaning up any spills immediately and placing warning signage on slippery surfaces, if necessary.
  • Avoiding carrying more than you can handle.

If working from a ladder:

  • Do not work on the top rung of the ladder.
  • Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Do not carry any tools or materials in your hands when climbing a ladder. Tools should be carried in a belt.
  • Do not lean away from the ladder to perform work. Always keep weight centered between the side rails.

Fatigue:

The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep and it is estimated that 37 percent of the U.S. workforce is sleep-deprived. To be alert and well-rested:

  • Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light and keep your bedroom temperate.
  • Avoid eating and using electronic devices right before bed, which can inhibit sleep.

Active Shooters:

Thinking about being involved in a situation with an active shooter is chilling, but being prepared can be your best defense. Whether you are at work or out in public, remain as calm as possible and remember:

  • Identify the two nearest exits.
  • If you can escape, do so immediately—leave personal belongings behind. If you cannot escape, hide in an area where the shooter can’t see you.
  • If you are behind a door, try to lock or block entry to it.
  • Silence electronic devices.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can do so safely.

Ergonomics:

Approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Most of this pain is not caused by serious underlying conditions, but improper ergonomic support.

  • When working at the computer:
    • Ensure your chair provides proper support and sit as far back as possible in it.
    • Make sure your monitor is directly in front of you and within reach of your fingertips.
    • Keep your eyes level with the toolbar when looking at your monitor.
    • Keep your elbows and knees bent at 90 degrees.
    • Take regular breaks to stretch and walk around.
    • Use caution when performing even mildly exertive lifting. Keep your back as straight as possible by bending and using your legs for your lifting power.
    • Always be sure to follow proper lifting techniques.
    • Refrain from reaching for heavy objects. Instead, use a step stool to retrieve items.

The good news is that most workplace and home accidents are preventable. The more Aqua employees and our customers understand potential hazards and take action to reduce them, the less likely accidents are to occur. Aqua cares about the safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers, so join us in recognizing Nationals Safety Month and to take simple steps to stay safe.

 

 

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5 Water-Smart Tips for a Safe Halloween

 

October is National Safety Month. As you know, we here at Aqua America make water safety a top priority and with Halloween just around the corner we want to give you a few water-smart tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable All Hallows’ Eve.

 

1. Skip the Sprinklers

Whether you like it or not, trick-or-treaters will inevitably run across your yard on their way to the door this Halloween. While keeping your lawn hydrated is always important, we stress that you do not run your sprinklers or water the grass within 24 hours of Halloween festivities. Wet grass poses the threat of slips and falls for children – especially in the dark. So, skip the sprinklers this Halloween and conserve water! The trick-or-treaters (and your water bill) will thank you.

 

2. Halloween Hydration is Key

 

We cannot stress this enough: do not forget to hydrate this Halloween. Trick-or-treating typically takes hours and while you may not realize it, you do a lot of walking in that time. To avoid or reduce the risk of dehydration, toss a water bottle in your and your little ones’ bags before leaving the house. If you choose to stay in and hand out treats instead, we highly recommend investing in some mini water bottles to offer worn down trick-or-treaters and their parents.

 

3. Beware: Wet Leaves

 

Lawns littered with leaves are commonplace this time of year – however, so are thunderstorms and morning dew. Unfortunately, these things can create some major Halloween safety issues seeing as wet leaves are both incredibly slippery and difficult to spot at night. To prevent slipping hazards: make sure you rake, sweep and dispose of any leaves from walkways and porches before dusk on Halloween night.

 

 

4. Garden Hoses are not Ghoul-Friendly

 

Maintaining your garden in the fall season is just as important as it is in the spring, and we get that. That being said, be sure to check your gardening hose is shut off and put away before prime trick-or-treating hours begin (usually around 5:30 p.m.). You do not want to run the risk of someone getting sprayed with water, slipping on the wet driveway or tripping over your garden hose and tumbling to the ground in the dark of night.

 

5. Patch Your Pipes

 

With the combined increase in rainfall and low temperatures this October, many of us begin to run the risk of leaky pipes and flooded basements. No one wants to fall victim to a nasty “trick” so make sure to check your pipes in the days leading up to Halloween – if you see a crack or leak, contact an expert immediately. Puddles of water or mud can quickly build up along your property as a result of damaged pipes and no one wants their holiday ruined by plumbing issues.

   

From all of us at Aqua, we hope you have a safe and spooky Halloween!

 

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