It’s almost June, and you know what that means: National Safety Month is here again! This year, the National Safety Council’s goal is to create a culture of safety in every organization and workplace in order to eradicate preventable injuries and deaths on the job. With a bit of planning, your business can join in this four-week observation of the importance of safety at work; here’s how.
Week One: Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention
As far as workplace accidents go, slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury. In fact, 15 percent of accidental deaths are attributed to slips and falls, making them second only to motor vehicle accidents. The cause of these common occurrences can be related to faulty equipment, such as improper shoes or uneven surfaces; human error, such as inattention, fatigue or walking hastily; and environmental, such as inadequate lighting or slippery spills on floors.
Your business can help prevent slips, trips and falls by practicing good housekeeping and making work areas clean and clear of obstacles. Train employees on the proper use of ladders and ensure that facility safety equipment is accessible and up to safety standards.
Week Two: Focusing on Employee Wellness
Healthy employees are more productive, call in sick less often and bring down your overall long-term health care costs. In honor of National Safety Month, make employee wellness a priority at your business. These ideas are simple to implement and won’t break the bank:
- Start a lunch hour walking club
- Encourage employees to get vaccinated for flu season
- Turn the most desirable parking spots into bicycle parking spots
- Partner with a local gym to offer lowered group rates or subsidize employees’ monthly membership fees
- Offer incentives to employees who improve their fitness levels, such as losing weight or lowering cholesterol or blood pressure
- Rethink the soda and candy in the office vending machines. Instead, consider healthy options such as nuts, seeds, and juices
- Add information about wellness to the company newsletter
- Post wellness tips and news on the break room bulletin board
Week Three: Preparing for Emergencies
Though no one likes to imagine the worst, emergencies do happen. Ensure your office is prepared by holding regular safety meetings that revisit emergency protocols. Train your employees on the specific safety procedures to follow in case of various emergencies, from natural disasters to chemical spills or technological accidents.
As well as building evacuation plans, consider:
- What to do if employees are unable to leave the building at the end of the day
- If the supplies on hand are adequate in case of an emergency
- If the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is secure
Week Four: Incorporating Ergonomics
The last week of National Safety Month focuses on ergonomics, or methods of matching an employee’s workplace environment and job demands to their capabilities. The easier it is for an employee to perform their job, the happier, more productive and safer they will be. Take time to review employees’ workstations, work conditions and behaviors, looking for factors such as:
- Proper lifting techniques
- The ability to change position comfortably while working
- Keeping joints in a neutral or partially extended position and avoiding repetitive motions or positions that require a full joint extension
Safety at work affects everyone, from the employees at the bottom of the pay scale to the executives at the top. National Safety Month’s goal is to bring a focus to developing a culture of safety at all levels. Take this opportunity to make your workplace safer and more productive.