This June marks the 25th anniversary of the National Safety Council’s (NSC) National Safety Month. As health and safety have become more important than ever before given our current environment, NSC’s National Safety Month awareness initiatives are dedicated to educating and influencing behavior around the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths in and out of the workplace. While facilities begin to power up, ensuring employee, facility and equipment safety is critical — now and in the post-pandemic climate.
For 2021’s campaign, NSC is sharing safety messages on four pressing topics: building a safety culture, advancing your safety journey, preventing incidents before they start, and COVID-19 safety concerns. Continue reading for the latest information and resources to keep people safe, including how best practice visuals help support safety protocols in the shifting workplace environment.
Fostering a Strong Safety Culture
Having and enforcing a safety plan is always important, but advancing your plan by fostering a safe work culture is a proactive way to reinforce hazard recognition and encourage safe behavior. Many of OSHA’s recently released top 10 workplace safety violations list for 2020 were recurring incidents from year after year. In many areas, this points to employers still struggling to provide the proper training materials and programs to employees. The fundamentals of a safe work culture start with communication — both verbal and visual — and employee engagement. To develop effective communication strategies that promote employee engagement:
- Conduct regularly scheduled safety trainings: Ensure all employees receive the appropriate safety training related to their duties, including trainings on how to wear personal protective equipment when required. Make sure any changes to the plan are swiftly communicated and that all documentation is made available. Encourage two-way dialogue by welcoming employees to ask questions about procedures and to immediately point out safety hazards if they arise. These useful steps help show employees that you care about their safety.
- Communicate safety hazards: In a perfect world, all workplaces would be free of safety hazards. Since that’s impossible for nearly all employers, alerting workers of facility and equipment hazards is critically important. In addition to training, incorporating safety labels on products and equipment helps warn end users of hazards to prevent interacting with them. Safety signs help keep employees and visitors safe and meet OSHA rules and regulations. Utilizing best practice safety visuals at your facility and on your equipment helps meet your legal ‘duty to warn’ requirements and reduces your premises liability exposure.
Advancing Your Safety Journey
Every day, 6,300 people lose their lives globally due to work-related accidents and disease – more than 2.3 million deaths per year. Achieving and sustaining an injury-free workplace demands a universal and continuous improvement in occupational health and safety management systems. ISO 45001 is the first and much anticipated occupational health and safety management standard. This gives organizations across the U.S. and around the world a structure to plan, support, implement, and evaluate their efforts to eliminate risks to workers. Some ways that ISO 45001 can advance your safety journey include;
- Reduced work-related injuries and fatalities.
- Eliminated or minimized OH&S risks.
- Improved OH&S performance and effectiveness.
- Increased worker engagement through their participation in the certification process.
- Demonstration of corporate responsibility and meeting supply chain requirements.
- Protection and improvement of brand reputation.
This ISO 45001 standard is applicable to any organization regardless of its size, type, and activities. It shapes itself to the OH&S risks under the organization’s control, taking into account factors such as the context in which the organization operates and the needs and expectations of its workers and other interested parties.
Preventing Incidents Before They Start
All worksites and types of products/equipment can be assessed and optimized with safety and risk reduction in mind. Hazards related to electricity are one key area of concern. To help, here are a few tips on how to stay safe around electrical hazards, courtesy of the ESFI:
- Ensure all electrical conductors and circuit parts are in safe working condition.
- Check to see whether necessary machine parts are properly guarded to reduce the likelihood of electrical contact or arcing faults.
- Establish a program and procedures for affixing appropriate lockout/tagout devices to energy isolating devices.
- Implement signs and barriers to avoid contact with power lines, these can be extremely useful in preventing non-electrical workers from accessing the area or storing materials in proximity to it.
Electrical injuries and fatalities are on the rise year after year, in industries including construction, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, education and health services, and food services. Electrical hazard labels highlight proper electrical safety and keep workplaces compliant with relevant standards, codes, and regulations.
Addressing Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Concerns
Most employers across all industries have started their return to work process as strict COVID-19 social distancing measures and protocols have lightened. Analysts predict that the impact of the pandemic will affect people far beyond the initial outbreak. If your company doesn’t offer an Employee Assistance Program, there are a few steps you can take to help employees cope during these stressful, overwhelming times:
- Work with benefit providers to help with access to mental health services.
- Share all resources and referrals offered by benefit providers and community programs.
- Communicate pertinent information related to healthcare benefits including COVID-19 coverage, prescriptions, and telehealth services.
- Amend and communicate appropriate HR policies and resources as needed to accommodate flexibility and provide support.
Your Partner for All of Your Visual Safety Needs
Worker health and safety is a top priority. Now more than ever, as many workplaces have faced significant changes during the past year, proactively maintaining safe facilities and equipment is critical to prevent injuries and protect your business liability.Clarion Safety provides comprehensive machinery safety and risk assessment services, with full-service product safety and liability prevention capabilities.Get in touch with us to learn how we can get your safety visuals up to date with the latest standards to keep your products safe and to protect your team from harm.
This blog was originally posted on 6/18/12 and has been updated with new information throughout.