June is National Safety Month. Each June, the National Safety Council (NSC) organizes this annual observance to educate the public and raise awareness in the leading causes of injuries and deaths. In honor of the NSC celebrating its 100th anniversary of safety awareness this year, I would like to showcase breakthroughs in safety improvement history via TED, in the order of topics the NSC is featuring each week of this month.
Week one is on Slips, Trips and Falls, with particular emphasis on falls from heights. Falling is one of the major causes of injuries and fatalities in our work places. Although he might not help you much in preventing injuries in the office, Steve Truglia has stories to share. As a stuntman, the number of times Truglia has fallen out of buildings is most likely more than I have cut my own fingers in the kitchen. See how technology has made stunts safer, and Truglia’s incredible planning for a breathtaking jump from 120,000 feet high.
The second week focuses on Employee Wellness, with an emphasis on the overdose of prescription painkillers. Deaths from overdose of prescription painkillers have skyrocketed in the past decade, but how severe is it exactly? Chris Jordan transformed a simple image of a pill by multiplying the imagery using the astonishing number of emergency room visits attributable to abuse and misuse of prescription painkillers, and anti-anxiety medications to an oversized wall image. Other imagery that raises awareness includes the destructive power of cigarettes, and various social issue images with high statistics in the United States.
The third week is Emergency Preparedness. As millions of people are displaced by natural disasters every single year, organizations are increasingly aware of the importance of emergency plans. I still remember when the HR department at my company handed me an emergency survival kit backpack during my new hire orientation, even before I had a chance to introduce myself to everyone in the room! Dedicated to solving the massive housing gap after devastating disasters, Michael McDaniel spent his own personal savings and free time to design and build a low-cost shelter that is easily transportable and post-disaster efficient.
The fourth week is on the issue of Ergonomics. The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as “the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.” In essence, it is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body and its cognitive abilities. If you are suffering from back or neck pain while sitting at the desk reading this article, you might want to check out Niels Diffrient’s talk on important design elements of an ergonomic chair.
Every time I watch TED talks, I am fascinated by the arresting ideas, dedication and passion of human beings. Have a safe summer with greater awareness from the NSC and I hope you enjoyed watching the great inventions and wisdom on safety in these TEDx stories.
Grace Liao is an analyst with background in Finance. She joined TEDxPeachtree as a volunteer since the 2012 conference. She respects TED speakers and wishes herself one day to have positive impact on society as well.