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Slow Down and Stay Alert!


Halloween is right around the corner, and in addition to putting the final touches on your costumes and decorations, it’s important to keep in mind safety considerations for celebrating this holiday. The National Highway Traffic Administration recommends following the number one rule for Halloween safety which is to slow down and stay alert!

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car with serious or fatal injuries on Halloween than on any other day of the year. On Halloween, there are often more children on the roads in places where they’re not expected. Kids are excited to celebrate and may run into the street unexpectedly and from uncommon locations surprising drivers.

The National Safety Council encourages people who plan to be on the road during trick-or-treat hours to be alert and follow these precautions: watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs and turn on headlights early; enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully; at dusk and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing; and avoid having new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.

The theme of slow down and stay alert also holds true in a laboratory setting, not only at Halloween but throughout the year. Many different types of lab accidents are often caused by rushing, not paying attention, and not properly following procedures.

For instance, spills that occur during the handling of chemicals or biological materials that lead to employee exposures are often the result of not following procedures and rushing. In addition, slips, trips, and falls in labs and other workplace settings are often related to employees rushing and not being alert according to a study published by Safestart.com.

When rushing and not paying attention to their surroundings, people tend to make errors and decisions that increase the chance of injury. In our upcoming edition of Incidents, Accidents, and Near Misses in Laboratory Research (Volume 8), we will be featuring several stories where rushing and/or not paying attention and being alert played a role in the incident as well as the response to it. As you’ll see from these stories, often people learn the hard way that working safely is the first priority, even if it means finishing the job later.

Remember to slow down and stay alert this Halloween! We wish you and your family happy and safe trick-or-treating.

This blog was written by Beth Graham, Director of Quality, Research, and Training

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