At Shoes for Crews, we're big fans of National Safety Month. For 20 years now, the National Safety Council has designated June as the one month each year when employers and employees alike should take a close look at workplace safety to make sure everyone is doing their part to stay safe.
But does the end of National Safety Month mean that you don't need to worry about workplace safety anymore? Of course not. That's why we're devoting this blog to workplace safety tips for extending the principles of National Safety Month throughout the year.
Focus on Supplies and Resources
One of the biggest elements of any workplace safety strategy is making sure that employees have the supplies they need to stay safe. All of the training and awareness in the world won't be enough to protect workers if they lack the right resources.
Sometimes, finding and providing the right safety gear is easy and obvious. For example, construction workers need to have hard hats, goggles and steel-toed boots – that much is a given. In a lot of other cases, though, it's not so immediately apparent what the right equipment is. For example, we highlighted in a previous blog post how much of a positive impact safety footwear like slip-resistant shoes can have on worker protection. In industries where slippery floors are an issue – including restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals, factories and more – slip-resistant shoes can significantly cut down on falls, which in turn reduces the risk of concussions, burns and even spinal nerve damage.
"Policies should require regular check-ins on the status of employees' safety shoes."
National Safety Month is the perfect time for workers and employers to make sure the right footwear is worn in their workplaces. However, you can't make this a once-per-year examination. Instead, the focus on proper workplace safety gear should be a year-round effort. Business leaders can and should create policies that require regular check-ins on the status of employees' safety shoes, and workers themselves should make a point of acquiring new slip-resistant footwear or other safety equipment whenever they notice signs of wear.
There's a reason why we always practiced fire drills when we were in school: Drills are an engaging way to make sure that everyone is prepared. They can serve that exact same purpose in the workplace, too.
Going back to the issue of slippery floors, managers or other leaders can periodically simulate spills to make sure that employees know who is responsible for clean up, where towels and other supplies are stored, how other workers can or should go about their jobs while this is happening and so on. National Safety Month is the perfect time to go over all of this information and establish roles if that has not happened yet, but this preparation will only have long-term benefits if it's put into practice throughout the year. Drills are a great way to ensure everyone participates and the lessons learned in June don't fade away in the following months.
Make Training a Priority
It's not always obvious how to stay safe in a given workplace. That's why it's essential for employees, new and old, to receive regular training throughout the year.
This holds true even when workplace safety tips seem very straightforward, and is especially important whenever the work environment changes in any way. Adding another cook to a restaurant kitchen, for example, may slightly change how personnel should react in the event of a spill. Assuming that employees will figure out the best practices on their own is a mistake – you need to offer specific guidance and training. It's far better to over- than under-explain.