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The Numbers Are Shocking

StatisticsFor more than 90 years the National Safety Council has published Injury Facts, a reference source for safety statistics. The 2015 version has just been released and the some of the safety statistics are alarming.

If one desires to understand how well the United States is doing in safety, the Injury Facts provide a shocking insight regarding statistical data of injuries, death, and economic impact upon our society. To show you just how serious and far-spread the impact can be, we’ve pulled some statistics from Injury Reports 2015 to share.

Unintentional injury related deaths in 2013, including all accidental injures and positioning, were approximately 130,800. It excludes homicides, suicides, and war deaths. Unintentional injury related deaths are the number one cause of death for the age group of 1-44.

Breaking that number down, there were approximately 35,500 motor vehicle injury related deaths, 66,000 home injury related deaths, and 3,738 work injury related deaths, with agriculture (i.e. farming, forestry, fishing, and hunting)being the highest occupation for unintentional injury related deaths.

There were approximately 39,600,000 non-fatal medically consulted injuries. This translates into about 1 out of 8 Americans seeking medical attention for injuries. There were approximately 4.3 million automobile related injuries, 20 million home related injuries, and 4.8 million work related injuries.

From an economic standpoint, the impact of fatal and non-fatal unintentional injuries amounted to almost $821 billion in 2013, equivalent to approximately $6,700 per household. These are the costs that every household pays directly through higher prices for goods, services, or taxes.

Besides the $821 billion in economic losses, the lost quality of life is estimated at an additional $4,254 billion, making the comprehensive costs approximately $5,074 billion in 2013. To provide you with a yardstick for comparison, the Department of Defense budget for fiscal year 2013 was $525.4 billion. Unintentional injuries cost almost 10 times that in 2013!

We have a long way to go toward a safer society. Remember, it is cheaper to put the fence at the top of the cliff than pay for the ambulance below. True safety begins with recognition of hazards and risks in the design of products, procedures, and environments to eliminate the hazards to the extent reasonably possible for a safer society.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers in Your Home

FurnaceBrr! It’s getting cold outside. It’s the time of year to turn on your furnace or heaters to stay warm.

Did you know many heating devices can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, that can quickly incapacitate and kill you? More than 400 persons die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sources of carbon monoxide in addition to malfunctioning furnaces and room heaters include cars, malfunctioning fuel burning appliances such as ranges and water heaters, and engine powered equipment such as portable generators. Burning charcoal in fireplaces inside the home or semi-enclosed areas can also result in lethal levels of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Modern furnaces performance to vent carbon monoxide does not always provide consumer protection from carbon monoxide leakage under a number of conditions that commonly occur. These conditions include disconnected vents, partially blocked vents, over-fired furnaces, and furnaces that have inadequate air for combustion. These common scenarios underscore the need to provide consumers with more comprehensive protection against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Following the safety hierarchy, it is always best to eliminate a hazard of carbon monoxide through design, to the extent reasonably possible. Any remaining hazards need to be guarded against, to the extent reasonably possible. However, as consumers, the most immediate action we can take is to provide in our homes and perhaps work places carbon monoxide detectors/alarms.

Look around in your home. Do you have carbon monoxide detector(s)/alarm(s)? If so, have you replaced the batteries and ensured they are in functioning order?

For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning, please visit the CPSC website.