How to Get Involved in National Safety Month

  • Jun 15
How to Get Involved in National Safety Month

Workplace safety is an important issue all year round. But in 1996, the National Safety Council designated June as National Safety Month to heighten awareness. Now, nearly three decades later, the initiative remains strong, encouraging prevention, promoting awareness, and saving lives. However, this safety campaign is only as effective as its reach. So, it’s important for people to participate and spread the word.

Fortunately, the month-long initiative breaks down into four main areas of focus, which change every year. This helps bring different topics of importance to the forefront and allows workers to learn life-saving information. For the 2023 National Workplace Month, these topics include:

  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Heat-Related Illness
  • Hazard Recognition

The National Safety Council reports that preventable injuries, or accidents, are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. And in the interest of contributing to a safer workplace, we want to highlight each of the focus areas.

The Four Focus Areas of National Safety Month

Week 1: Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness is potentially the most important aspect of safety, both at work and in everyday life. Because successfully contending with disastrous situations requires knowing how to handle them. So, the first week of National Safety Month focuses largely on different methods and aspects for creating response plans. Some of these might include:

  • CPR Training
  • Fire Escape Plans and Drills
  • Weather-Related Plans and Drills
  • Workplace Violence Prevention Training

However, emergency preparedness surpasses the four topics above, and can become more or less specific depending on the workplace itself. For example, preparing to deal with hazardous material exposure is vital for jobs requiring workers to handle chemicals. So, preparing to handle emergency situations also means knowing what kinds of accidents could happen in your specific work area.

Week 2: Slips, Trips and Falls

The second week of National Safety Month should be fairly self-explanatory. It involves preventing slips, trips and falls, whether from great heights or not. Generally, these sorts of accidents might seem more common in construction environments or in jobs that involve physical labor. Especially where ladders, scaffolding or roof work are involved. However, understanding how to prevent them is important for any workplace.

Largely, this involves awareness – which is exactly what the month aims to promote. Knowing how to use tools correctly, draw attention to slippery areas, and navigate a hazardous work area are paramount to safety. For example, setting up ladders correctly, posting signs for slick floors, and taking proper safety precautions when scaling a building.

Interestingly, modern technology can help avoid situations where workers have to take unnecessary risks. Drones are a great example, since operators can send them into dangerous areas rather than having to go in themselves. So, safety coordinators should take note of different tools to help prevent situations that could turn deadly.

Week 3: Heat-Related Illness

Heat-related illness might not be a major factor in workplace injury for traditional white-collar employees. But for older adults or those working outside for long periods of time, knowing how to cope with high temperatures is important. One of the first rules is to drink plenty of water and recognize the signs of dehydration. Keeping an eye on the UV index for your area and knowing when to take breaks can also help prevent unnecessary harm.

However, even if heat isn’t an issue for workers in every field, it can be outside of the workplace. On average, nearly forty children die each year from being left in a hot vehicle. And while that number might not seem high when discussing the national rate, the fact that it is entirely preventable makes it absolutely tragic. Taking steps to prevent heat-related illness and even death is as vital for parents and guardians as it is for workers.

Week 4: Hazard Recognition

Similar to emergency preparedness, hazard recognition involves awareness. And not just obvious dangers, but hidden ones as well. As noted by the NSC, safety needs to be 24/7. So, from menial injuries to life-threatening situations, hazard recognition can help. Taking measures to ensure safety both at home and in the workplace means understanding and avoiding unnecessary risk. That might be as simple as remembering to turn off an oven before leaving the house. But it also involves staying weather aware, avoiding medication overdoses, and a host of other topics.

Of course, staying hazard aware doesn’t mean you have to become fearful. In fact, there are times where fear may distract from actual preventative methods. So, calm, collected awareness will often serve better. However, understanding the potential for danger and knowing how to avoid it means alertness, thoughtfulness, and the ability to make wise choices.

How You Can Participate in National Safety Month

In a sense, the ways to get involved in National Safety Month are limitless. The NSC provides plenty of free written resources and videos to boost awareness. So, that’s a great place to start. But at the end of the day, any activity that helps someone learn to take safety seriously is the perfect way to participate. Whether that’s some form of employee training or a simple, sit-down conversation with children about awareness.

Those who want to take extra steps can register for informational webinars, take safety pledges, and even donate to the National Safety Center. But the best way for you to celebrate and participate is simply by becoming more education.

Learn About Workplace Safety with VTR Learning

VTR Learning takes workplace safety seriously, and we recognize the importance of taking preventative steps. That’s why we offer a course on Creating a Safe Workplace. It only takes a couple of hours to complete, and includes simulated situations to help users learn about:

  • Common types of injuries
  • Preventative measures
  • Legal issues and worker’s compensation programs

Alternatively, if you want the full HR experience, SHRM/HRCI, American Payroll Association, and AICPA members can earn credit. We’ve also recently added this course for members of ASAE as well! So, if you’re looking for a great way to participate in National Safety Month, check out our courses!

Written by Braden Norwood

Last updated June 17, 2024