“The overall economic impact of all accidental injuries exceeds $625 billion a year and is devastating to individuals, families and employers,” according to an article on Channel Islands. “The cost of on- and off-the-job accidental injuries is a staggering $380 billion, of which 58%, or $220 billion, are costs related to employee injuries off-the-job." In honor of National Safety Month, I am sharing some easy tips for creating safety awareness among employees.
Apply Themes to Safety Awareness Campaigns
When a theme is applied to a safety program and the theme is regularly changed, employees are less prone to ignoring your safety messages and are more likely to consider the program relevant and upbeat. Ask your employees to submit their ideas for an upcoming theme change and utilize their ideas to come up with a new theme at least on an annual basis. When a new safety program theme is launched, kick off the change in a big way. Announce the new theme in safety meetings, by emails and add new goals related to the safety program. Also make sure all safety program components are updated with the new artwork and branding of the theme.
Schedule Special Events during National Safety Month
Each year during National Safety Month, the National Safety Council focuses on different safety topics and includes posters, fact sheets and other media that can be used during special events to discuss specialized topics. Take advantage of these tools and schedule special events during the month of June to discuss safety topics and create safety awareness in the workplace.
When people attend a number of meetings, be sure to reward them with safety awards or bankable points if your company has an ongoing incentive program in place to maximize attendance. Additionally, with an online incentive program your company can test the knowledge acquired at the special events by encouraging or requiring employees to take safety quizzes. As employees complete safety quizzes correctly, additional points can be earned and banked in their online accounts.
Utilize Different Media to Communicate Safety Awareness
Throughout the year there are many ways companies can discuss safety topics with workers in order to maintain safety awareness in the workplace. I have worked with clients on providing and designing safety program materials such as:
Professionally prepared safety discussions to encourage safety in the workplace
Leader sheets that walk a speaker through a safety meeting
PowerPoint presentations on safety topics
Employee safety program handouts
Checklists to remind employees of workplace safety and ensure safety compliance
Customized safety posters designed to increase safety award program awareness
Workplace safety reminders
Safety slogans directed toward specific safety compliance goals
eNewsletters on safety topics
Safety newsletters that are mailed to employee’s homes
Depending on how your organization is set up and employee demographics, you can pick and choose the media you use to communicate safety topics and keep safety top of mind for workers.
Entice Participation in the Workplace and in the Home
Keeping employees safe on the job is the most common goal for safety programs but a few of my clients with programs that have existed for a few years also introduce safety goals for employees to complete at home. Organizations can provide information to employees on home safety topics and encourage teaching safe concepts to families as part of the safety program. One of my clients awards points to employees who bring in drawings from their children demonstrating a safe practice. By extending the safety program past the boundaries workplace, safety awareness and safe behaviors are practiced no matter where the employee may be.
Take these tips into consideration not only during National Safety Month but throughout the year as you review and update your organization’s safety program. By implementing a safety awareness campaign, you can effectively mitigate the high cost of accidents, injuries, lost time and even fatalities related to on and off the job incidents.