Thursday, September 2, 2010

Health Care and Labor Day

Labor Day--the last major holiday weekend of the summer season is fast approaching, and in a few days millions of Americans will be hitting the road for a vacation destination that will be short lived but well deserved. Before the hectic final quarter of the year sets in and Thanksgiving and the Christmas Season comes around, the time to relax for a brief but enjoyable time with family and friends is what the majority of people in the US look forward to as the last breath of the Summer. Children in many parts of the country start back to school after this weekend, and the end of the year after Labor Day is typically the final hard charging days of business for most companies for 2010.

According to the US Department of Labor (DOL), Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. In the early years of this celebration going back to the 1880's, the form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression, according to the. Now, according to the DOL, speeches by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television in observance of the holiday. The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Labor Day is a weekend of fun, excitement, and enjoying the last days of summer. The last thing anyone wants to do is end up spending their time in the emergency room, but hundreds of people each year find themselves in that exact place wondering how injury or even death could have been prevented. Here are a few easy and useful tips on how to keep your Labor Day injury and accident free, according to

First, Labor Day is often a day of busy traffic and congested roads and the number one cause of injury and death during the holiday is vehicle related. To ensure you get wherever you are going in one peace, do a quick check on your car before traveling over the holiday weekend. First, make sure your coolant levels are sufficient to combat the last of that summer heat, then do a check on other essential fluids like oil and power steering. After that, check your tires to make sure that they are filled properly and aren't wearing thin anywhere. A blowout or flat tire is the last thing anyone needs while trying to enjoy themselves. A few minutes before heading out to check the fluid and tires will save you having to try and find an open mechanic on a holiday weekend. The next thing to consider regarding driving is something that may seem obvious, but make sure that you or the person driving is not tired or intoxicated. Having a delayed response time is not a good idea at any point while driving, but is particularly hazardous on a weekend where there are higher numbers of drivers on the road.

Secondly, in regards to personal safety during events, be smart and don't take unnecessary risks. This doesn't mean that you can't go out and water ski or bungee jump, but make sure you are taking a calculated risk and are using appropriate safety gear for whatever sport or activity you choose to involve yourself in. Stay hydrated, don't forget to eat, and if you're drinking, don't drive or operate machinery of any kind. Driving a boat drunk is still drunk driving! Also, remember that drinking impairs judgment and causes you to dehydrate so make sure you're drinking water during or after your time drinking. Beyond ensuring that you don't cause serious dehydration, it will help you avoid that hangover the next morning.

Third, another thing to consider is bugs and wildlife in the great outdoors. For most the consideration will only be mosquito and spider bites, but educate yourself on the area you will be staying to make sure there aren't other critters you need to consider. Snakes, poisonous spiders, and even coyotes and bears may be something you need to be aware of if you're out camping or hiking. Having a well-stocked first aid kit with you is essential to treating any injuries or bites that may occur while you are out.

Fourth, don't assume that any place is child-proof or that they notice faults or hazardous conditions regarding their equipment or tools. Be careful when renting tools that upon inspection they do not have hazardous wiring conditions, loose parts, and various other problems. Look at safety gear issued with sponsored rafting events and kayaking trips that do not have defects that could prove deadly if you do not take the time to inspect it before being given to you by the rental company. Don't assume that safety gear is automatically in good shape. Take the few extra minutes to make sure all fasteners, buckles, and other devices are in good working order before trusting your life to them.

Finally, the most important factor in preventing injury is educating yourself. Look up safety on the things you will be doing from grilling to getting in some last minute building projects over the holiday weekend. Look up things like the 101 Critical days of summer which is a military initiative for summer safety to minimize troop injury and death during the summer. Ultimately safety is everyone's responsibility, take a few precautions for yourself and your friends and make the weekend something to remember for years to come with the fun you have, not the injuries you sustain.

And remember the addage about drinking and driving---they don't mix. According to, the U.S. Department of Transportation Wednesday kicked off the annual “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” campaign aimed at getting drunk drivers off the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also released new data indicating that eight percent of all drivers, as many as 17 million people, have driven drunk at least once during the past year. The law enforcement crackdown will run through Labor Day and will involve thousands of police agencies from across the nation. Drunk driving is deadly, it’s against the law, and unfortunately, it’s still a problem. Their message is loud and clear. If you drive drunk you will be arrested and prosecuted. There will be no exceptions and no excuses. And if you’re below the age of 21, there is zero tolerance for any alcohol in your system whatsoever.

Have fun this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the time off, and relax until the rat race heats up again after Monday. But remember to heed the suggestions about safety and your health so you can savor the memories of good times, not bad experiences due to lack of common sense and proper planning.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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