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Communications Apr 14, 2022

12 Monthly Safety Topics To Train All Year Round

Run better and more engaging safety meetings and keep your employees engaged all year long with these monthly safety topics.

Occupational safety should be a top priority all year long. Holding regular meetings on safety topics relevant to your business and encouraging (or requiring) your employees to complete safety training throughout the year is a great way to promote safety awareness and reinforce a safety culture at your company. And it can make your employees more than 25% more likely to know what to do during an emergency.

But safety meetings and training can get dry quickly. And bored employees will have trouble paying attention to important information. Not only is running a disengaging safety meeting a waste of time and effort, it will leave your employees and business vulnerable during a crisis when people are unsure of what to do. Every business has a duty of care to provide their employees with protection from unnecessary harm. This includes doing everything possible for injury prevention and avoiding extreme risks like fatalities by training employees on safety plans and procedures.

The best way to run more interesting and engaging safety meetings and increase overall safety awareness is to have a variety of topics to cover, rather than relying on one or two stand-bys that you repeat every few months.

This article has 12 monthly safety topics (and a few national safety observances) you can use to reinforce best practices and teach your team how to stay safe. These topics cover all kinds of hazards and safety initiatives that can apply to any business. Whether you work in Environmental Health & Safety (EHS), security, or another related field, you can use these topics to guide weekly or monthly safety meetings or inform the training you assign.

12 Safety Topics for Monthly Meetings

January: Inclement weather

Inclement weather is defined as any severe or harsh weather condition that makes it unsafe or impractical to travel, commute, or work outdoors. Every region and every business faces weather-related threats and challenges, and what might be normal weather conditions in one region may be dangerous in a different region.

Guiding questions:

  1. What inclement weather might disrupt your business operations?
  2. What should your employees do when inclement weather hits?
  3. What is your plan when employees cannot safely get to or leave work?
  4. How and when will you communicate about severe weather with your employees?

Inclement weather safety tips:

  • Plan ahead for how employees will work from home if road conditions are bad.
  • Have emergency kits in the office in case people get trapped in the facility.
Ensure your workplace is safe from hazards with this comprehensive checklist.

February: Workplace violence

The CDC defines workplace violence as any “act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults directed toward persons at work or on duty.” Examples include physical assault, robbery, and theft or destruction of private or company property. It can be caused by a coworker, contractor, customer, or former employee, and it can happen anywhere inside or outside the office.

Guiding questions:

  1. What are the signs of potential workplace violence?
  2. Where can your employees hide if violence breaks out in your workplace?
  3. Who might be on site that would need to be notified about any workplace violence?
  4. What specific types of workplace violence might your business face?

Workplace violence prevention tips:

  • Improve the physical security like lighting and door access of your worksites.
  • Train your employees on situational awareness and “run, hide, fight” tactics.

March: Health & Wellness

The health and wellness of your employees is just as much a matter of workplace safety as preventing violence or responding to natural disasters. Preventing disease outbreaks, providing ergonomic support, and preventing injuries should all be considered part of your safety program.

Guiding questions:

  1. What is your sick-day policy?
  2. Do your employees know about proper ergonomics?
  3. How will your business handle a disease outbreak in your workplace or location?
  4. How can you support the overall health of employees?

Health and wellness safety tips:

  • Walk employees through health care coverage options so they know what they have access to.
  • Encourage healthy practices like good sleep, nutrition, and exercise.

April: Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are usually sudden and can be very destructive, not just to buildings and facilities but also to employee time for those who might need to take care of damage and injuries at home. These disasters vary wildly depending on location, and climate change is increasing these events in severity and frequency.

Guiding questions:

  1. What natural disasters most commonly affect your area?
  2. What are your evacuation plans for a disaster at your workplace?
  3. How will you navigate disaster recovery?
  4. When and how will you notify employees about predicted or imminent disasters as well as planned responses?

Natural disaster recovery tips:

  • Assign specific people to perform different recovery efforts, including communication.
  • Research FEMA resources and support before an incident so you can quickly access support after a disaster.

May: Mental health

Mental health consists of a person’s social, psychological, and emotional well-being and takes into account factors like stress management, decision making, and thought patterns. Mental health can have a huge impact on every individual’s quality of life, and poor mental health can create lasting detrimental effects if not addressed.

Guiding questions:

  1. How will you identify and support employees struggling with their mental health?
  2. What benefits do you have for mental health?
  3. How can you encourage a good work-life balance?
  4. What should employees do if they are struggling with their mental health?

Mental health safety tips:

  • Encourage employees to take breaks during the day.
  • Train managers on how to best support their teams mentally and emotionally.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Participate in Mental Health Awareness Month in May by prioritizing the mental health of your employees. Consider offering extra paid time off or hosting events like meditations in the workplace. Be sure to explain what mental health support is available if your employees need it.

June: PPE and equipment safety

Workplace safety is a constant job, and personal protective equipment and equipment safety can be big parts of that. Whether it’s helmets, reflective vests, face masks, or fall protection, your employees need the right equipment to stay safe. And training for proper use of heavy equipment or machinery, whether on the factory floor or just in a company vehicle, will prevent workplace injuries and accidents.

Guiding questions:

  1. How often are you training employees on how to properly use their PPE, including when and how to replace damaged or worn-out PPE?
  2. Have there been accidents with heavy machinery or equipment? How could it have been prevented?
  3. What hazardous materials (e.g., chemicals like radon) or heavy equipment (e.g., forklifts) are your employees working around regularly?
  4. What protocols should employees follow when working with dangerous equipment? (e.g., Lockout-tagout, electrical safety protocols, ladder safety protocols)

Workplace equipment safety tips:

  • Check out OSHA’s requirements and suggestions for PPE.
  • Encourage and even reward employees who practice safe behavior or bring up potential hazards.

June is National Safety Month

Every June, the National Safety Council (NSC) provides a wide range of safety resources to support National Safety Month. You can use these resources to bring safety front and center in your day-to-day. It can be as simple as hosting a safety meeting or seminar, or you can go big with a safety contest for employees. No matter how you celebrate, make sure your employees know just how much their safety matters to you and your business.

July: Heat safety

Extreme heat or working long hours in heat, especially in heavy protective gear, can be hazardous for workers. When the summer months bring heat waves, you should be prepared to protect your employees who are working in hot conditions. This is especially true as climate change brings more frequent and severe heat in many areas. As this threat rises, OSHA is putting together new regulations on heat exposure for workers, and now is the time to train your team on better heat safety.

Guiding questions:

  1. Do you have policies in place for extreme heat?
  2. What are the signs of heat illness?
  3. Where are your employees most likely to experience heat stress?
  4. Are there any interior spaces that might pose a heat risk?

Heat safety tips:

  • Provide ample water and air-conditioned spaces for employees working in extreme heat.
  • Encourage employees to wear breathable fabrics as much as possible.

August: Fire prevention

Nearly all employees have participated in a fire drill at one point or another, but that doesn’t mean fire safety should be glossed over. Structure fires can be very destructive and cause severe harm to people and property alike — especially if employees are ill-prepared to respond.

Guiding questions:

  1. Do all employees know the fire evacuation plan?
  2. When was the last time your workplace had its fire doors and fire extinguishers checked?
  3. Are employees practicing good fire safety in the office/facility?
  4. What are your most significant fire risks, and how can you mitigate potential impacts?

Fire safety tips:

  • Run regular fire drills and revise your evacuation plan as needed based on how the exercises go.
  • Assign the role of fire warden to someone on staff, and ensure this person is sufficiently empowered to take charge of fire prevention tasks.

September: Emergency preparedness

Emergencies can happen at any time, and it requires constant vigilance and preparation to ensure your business is ready to respond. Creating plans and keeping a constant communication feedback loop with your team can help you when it comes to emergency preparedness.

Guiding questions:

  1. What emergency plans do you already have, and what plans do you need?
  2. Who is responsible for communicating with affected employees during an emergency?
  3. What emergencies are good fits for running drills or tabletop exercises?
  4. How can you better communicate with your team when there is an emergency?

Emergency preparedness tips:

  • Invest in technology like threat intelligence and an emergency notification system to make your planning easier and more reliable.
  • Use a threat matrix to quantify the threats you face and prioritize preparedness efforts.

September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month is a great time to assess and revise your emergency preparedness plans. Involve your employees by practicing your plans — you can even use it as a team-building opportunity and create emergency kits as a group.

October: Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a hugely important safety topic that often gets overlooked when discussing workplace safety. It’s critical to teach your employees good cybersecurity practices and ensure they are set up to protect themselves and your business from cyberattacks.

Guiding questions:

  1. What are the signifiers of a phishing scam attempt?
  2. How will you notify employees or customers if there is a system outage due to a cyberattack?
  3. What can you do to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks?
  4. What information might be at risk?

Cybersecurity tips:

  • Conduct cybersecurity awareness training and teach employees about common tactics such as phishing.
  • Ensure all your employees are using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, when possible.
  • Frequently back up important information, and make sure you are using reputable third-party systems.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

You can use Cybersecurity Awareness Month to jumpstart your cybersecurity efforts. Run phishing scam drills and teach your employees how to protect their data. If you don’t already have one, create a cybersecurity response plan, so you are ready to mitigate the damage if an attack occurs.

November: First-aid

First-aid is a great response tool for all your employees to know so they feel empowered to act and keep people safe. You don’t always have immediate access to first responders or even managers/company leaders, so it’s important to have people on the ground who can act quickly to respond to injuries and help mitigate harm.

Guiding questions:

  1. Do your employees know what situations, emergency or otherwise, might arise in the workplace?
  2. How many employees are trained in CPR or first-aid?
  3. Where are first-aid supplies stored in the workplace?
  4. Do employees know how to differentiate between what kinds of injuries need hospital care and what do not?

First-aid tips:

  • Host a first-aid training in the office and incentivize or even mandate participation.
  • Place first-aid kits around the office and clearly label them.

December: Cold safety

While there is no OSHA standard specific to worker safety in cold weather environments, it’s still important to protect your employees from harm during cold weather. Implement safety efforts to protect your team from cold-weather injuries and illnesses like hypothermia, slips and falls, frostbite, and colds/flu.

Guiding questions:

  1. Who is most at risk of cold-weather injuries or illness?
  2. What are the signs of hypothermia and frostbite?
  3. What is the communication plan for extreme cold or winter weather events?
  4. What resources can you provide to employees working outside in cold weather?

Cold weather safety tips:

  • Winterize all offices and worksites such as making sure sidewalks and parking lots are clear of snow and ice, applying de-icing materials, and supplying space heaters or generators
  • Create cold weather kits, especially for employees who might be driving in cold weather.

Workplace Safety Checklist

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