Boating, Biking, and Beaching: Summer Safety Tips for Employees

Originally posted by Chris Kilbourne on http://safetydailyadvisor.blr.com

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in one recent year, more than 3,000 Americans were injured and over 700 killed in boating incidents. Of the people killed, more than 70% drowned, and more than 90% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

So the very first boating safety tip to emphasize and reemphasize to employees is that everyone in a boat should be wearing a life jacket, whether or not they can swim.

Alcohol is another factor contributing to boating accidents, injuries, and fatalities. CDC says that alcohol use affects judgment, vision, balance, and coordination, and is involved in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities. Boating under the influence of alcohol is just as deadly as drinking and driving. Not only is it dangerous to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it's also illegal in every state in the United States.

A third point to emphasize about safe boating is that people who pilot pleasure craft should know what they are doing. This means that they should have taken a safe boating course. CDC reports that more than 7 out of every 10 boating incidents are caused by operator error. Boating education courses teach the rules for safe operation and navigation of recreational boats, and can help boat operators keep their passengers safe.

Safe Biking

In 2010, 618 cyclists were killed and an additional 52,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

To prevent bike accidents, injuries and fatalities, NHTSA suggests the following safety precautions:

  • All bicyclists should wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet every time they ride. A helmet is the single most effective way to prevent head injury resulting from a bicycle crash.
  • Bicyclists are considered vehicle operators. They are required to obey the same rules of the road as other vehicle operators, including obeying traffic signs, signals, and lane markings. When cycling in the street, cyclists must ride in the same direction as traffic.
  • Drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with bicyclists and be courteous, allowing at least 3 feet clearance when passing a bicyclist on the road. Motorist should also look for cyclists before opening a car door or pulling out from a parking space. And they should always yield to cyclists at intersections and as directed by signs and signals. Motorists should be especially watchful for cyclists when making turns, either left or right.
  • Bicyclists should increase their visibility to drivers by wearing fluorescent or brightly colored clothing during the day, dawn, and dusk. To be noticed when riding at night, cyclists should use a front light and a red reflector or flashing rear light, and use retro-reflective tape or markings on equipment or clothing.

Safety at the Beach

The United States Lifesaving Association (www.usla.org) offers beachgoers many lifesaving safety tips on their website, including these:

  • Don’t swim alone. That way if you have a problem, there is someone there to help.
  • Don't swim under the influence. Alcohol impairment affects swimming ability and judgment.
  • Swim near a lifeguard. Your chance of drowning at a beach protected by lifeguards is slight.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, don't fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore.
  • Never dive head first into unknown water. Check for depth and obstructions like rock formations first.