How many businesses and agencies have you visited where the “Days Without Injury” sign reads in the single digits? What about the sign at your organization? This is one instance where the greater the number, the greater the success at workplace safety, and June is the month to focus on staying safe at work, at home, and in public. It’s National Safety Month!
Established by the National Safety Council (NSC), this month of awareness shines a spotlight on everything from being prepared to respond to staying safe on the roads. There are many ways of promoting health and safety in the workplace and in public, but the key is taking time to learn about resources and techniques, then pass them along. Here are a few ways:
The first step to staying safe at work, at home, or out in public is to educate yourself. This can be as simple as learning the basics of CPR on your own. Many of us forget that while it’s great to be certified, just learning the fundamentals of CPR and even basic First Aid can be key to responding promptly to an emergency, workplace or otherwise.
If your organization does not offer safety training, you can seek it out yourself. Visit the NSC’s website for downloadable tips and worksheets. You must provide contact information for these materials, but they are valuable reminders to check things like the ergonomics of your working environment. This is typically overlooked as an occupational hazard, but is also one of the leading causes of workplace injury, desk job or otherwise.
Educate Your Organization
Make workplace health and safety part of your organization’s onboarding, and you may reduce your safety risk significantly. The more occupational safety training is ingrained in your organization’s culture, the more automatic it becomes. Train them as they come through the door, and it will trickle up to your existing employees.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that you should neglect the training of your existing employees. Tailor the same training course you give your new hires and provide mandatory health and safety training for all your employees.
Protecting oneself from illness is second nature to healthcare professionals. However, they aren’t the only professionals who should be taking these precautions. If you work in an open office, one sneeze can take out a whole department for days or weeks at a time. Taking care of your employees’ health is just one piece of the safety puzzle.
Educate the Public
After all the internal education, look externally. Partner with a local healthcare facility to offer First Aid and CPR certification courses to not only your organization but your constituency. If you offer the class to anyone in the community, including your employees, this will not only improve public and workplace safety, it will strengthen community ties. These stronger ties will in turn contribute to improved health and safety for the public, especially if you’re in a community that is wary of working with its government entities.
If your community is centered around a certain industry, such as farming, it’s important to provide safety training for the public involved in that industry. In Minnesota, where farming accidents such as tractor rollovers are high, new legislation was just passed to fund research into other states’ farming safety programs. This information will then be used to create the state’s own farming safety education program.
Staying safe at work and out in the public realm is bigger than one month out of the year. Yet if National Safety Month heightens awareness and improves education, it’s one step toward getting rid of that injury sign altogether.