OSHA has ushered in a new event called Safe + Sound Week, held June 12-18 as a nationwide effort that aims to galvanize organizations of all sizes in a wide range of industries around one topic: workplace safety. The hope is that through enhanced attention to safety and health, the event will raise awareness of the value of workplace safety.
On the subject of Safe + Sound week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said, "Our nation has made great strides in raising awareness about the importance of workplace safety, yet more than four million workers suffer serious job-related injuries or illnesses annually. We can do better."
As a testament to the importance of enhanced commitment to safety this week, joining OSHA in sponsoring Safe + Sound Week are some powerful safety organizations, including the National Safety Council (NSC), American Industrial Hygiene Association, American Society of Safety Engineers, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
What Does Participating in Safe + Sound Week Entail?
Safe + Sound week can help organizations jumpstart safety and health programs, or energize existing ones. OSHA lists a litany of examples that can be implemented at almost any sized company, and falling under three categories: Management Leadership, Worker Participation, and Find and Fix Hazards. While the first two are self-explanatory, the “Find and Fix” category refers to ways that both employers and workers can examine their workplaces -- proactively and routinely -- to identify and address hazards before an injury or illness occurs, according to OSHA.
Here are some ways to participate in OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week:
Positive reinforcement: Become an “Undercover Boss” and take the time to notice when workers meet or exceed safety and health goals, such as reporting close calls and near misses, or attending training that’s not mandatory.
As a manager, you can provide positive on-the-spot recognition in person, in employee emails, or internal newsletters for proactive safety measures you encounter each day of Safe + Sound Week. Reinforce your appreciation by giving employees gift certificates or cards to local businesses such as gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. You can also gift items imprinted with your company’s logo such as T-shirts, pens, or water bottles, as safety reminders that live indefinitely.
Encourage workers to get involved in thinking day-to-day safety by putting into place a means of measurement. The NSC Employee Safety Perception Survey is complementary by opting in to the NSC’s program Journey to Safety Excellence®. Having workers participate in the survey is a great way to get people asking the right questions while also benchmarking your company’s safety culture. The NSC Employee Safety Perception Survey requires an administrator to organize and send the survey link out to employees via email. Company administrators can then monitor responses and run final reports. Once the administrator gets results, they can benchmark areas needing more safety emphasis and employees feel empowered by having a say in their safety.
Find and Fix Hazards
Conduct a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) by identifying a work activity or process where there may be safety concerns, or ask workers to recommend an area needing more safety attention. Observe the work being done and discuss which steps have led to incidents in the past or are susceptible to something going wrong. Identify improvements in the process that could reduce future incidents.
In the same vein, employers can conduct a mock incident investigation, based on a common hazard in your workplace or industry, or a past incident that could have been avoided. Ask volunteers to roleplay the incident, then have another team of workers and supervisors conduct a mock investigation. Prepare teams by watching a video beforehand on what to expect in an OSHA inspection so the teams can conduct realistic investigative practices. Include a focus on identifying the root cause of the incident, and write up a report with findings.
After completing the events or programs, you can download a certificate and web badge to recognize your organization and your workers.