Each and every one of us working in the nuclear industry shares responsibility for ensuring we go home to our families each day. We achieve this by following procedures and embracing the “nuclear safety culture.” This unique mindset keeps us safe at work, but what about at home? According to the National Safety Council, one out of 29 people in the United States is disabled one full day or more by unintentional injuries received in the home. What would it look like to take nuclear safety home to prevent injuries and accidents?
While some safety behaviors may already be a habit, consider being more proactive in using safety principles outside work. When you arrive home today, take a minute to consider the hazards around your house. Think about what you see in the the garage and when you walk inside. Be sure to address slip, trip or fall hazards such as food on the floor, an open cabinet or a shovel in the yard. Identify risks such as electrical cords or sharp objects left on the counter.
Remember to consider nuclear safety when working on home projects. Assess the project in advance, understand the work, recognize hazards and mitigate risks. In addition, determine if you and your family members are using the right tools and wearing necessary protective gear. At nuclear plants, we place a priority on such measures to stay safe. Protecting eyes and ears and preventing burns, cuts or injuries applies just as much when mowing the yard, cooking dinner or cleaning the bathroom.
There are many nuclear safety resources to use in our daily lives. The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), an industry association dedicated to promoting safety and excellence in nuclear operations, established Traits of a Healthy Nuclear Safety Culture which are an industry tool and can apply at home.
Questioning Attitude – We are safe and comfortable at home and chores become routine. Be sure to avoid complacency and continue to evaluate processes and ask questions even when taking out the trash or unloading dishes.
Problem Identification and Resolution – Make sure safety issues are promptly identified and addressed. If your outside deck has a loose step or missing handrail, understand the risk and make repairs quickly.
Another opportunity for keeping friends and family safe is through peer coaching which is a way to look out for each other by offering feedback and guidance. If your spouse is standing on an unstable chair to reach a cabinet, stop them and help locate a sturdy step ladder while explaining proper equipment mitigates a fall. Or if a neighbor is carrying a heavy load, offer to assist by pointing out it is a two-person job and will prevent a back injury. When neighbors speed by, remind them maintaining a safe speed keeps everyone safe. If feedback is not always appreciated, let them know you are speaking up because you care.
If you take nuclear safety home, you set the example for your family, friends and neighbors. Take personal responsibility and consider how you can promote a culture of safety for your loved ones to maintain a safe, healthy and injury-free home.