Bring Safe + Sound Week, Aug. 13–19, to your company with fun competition.
A systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards is a proactive, ongoing process of identifying and controlling sources of potential injuries or illnesses. This means establishing procedures to collect and review information about known or potential hazards in the workplace, investigating the root cause of those hazards and prioritizing hazard controls. Identifying and correcting these hazards before someone gets hurt ensures that workers go home to their families safe and sound after every shift.
How do you do it?
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggests that companies find and fix hazards during Safe + Sound Week by creating challenges, contests and competitions. Any challenge, contest or competition that promotes worker participation in safety-related activities, such as identifying hazards or participating in mock investigations of incidents or “near misses,” can be a fun way to encourage safe work practices. Here are a few suggestions and resources to get you started.
- Play “spot the hazard”: Create an image to post in your company newsletter or break room that includes common hazards found in your workplace or at installation sites. Ask employees to identify the hazards and make suggestions for fixing them. You could also form teams to find—and propose solutions to fix—hazards in their workspace. Teams could compete for a high score on OSHA’s interactive Hazard Identification Training Tool, designed to teach the core concepts of hazard identification. Provide feedback on the hazards that are identified and controls that are suggested. Award prizes to those who find the most hazards or come up with the best solutions.
- Hold a PPE fashion show: Ask workers to model the latest and safest in personal protective equipment (PPE). Tape off a “runway” on your warehouse floor or in a meeting space and discuss why PPE is essential on the job while workers walk the runway. This should be an educational opportunity—include tips on why, when and where particular PPE should be used; proper donning and doffing procedures; and equipment maintenance information. Don’t forget to share pictures or videos on your website and social media (#SafeAndSound2018 and #InTentsMag).
- Hold a scavenger hunt: Form teams to find safety and health information in the workplace. Create a list of what to look for (e.g., injury log, safety data sheets, emergency shut-off valves, automated external defibrillator, PPE) and have workers document what they find. Award prizes to those who find the most items from the list.
- “Safety swap” between working groups: Sometimes a new set of eyes can help identify hazards that others might miss after seeing them every day. Pick a brief period of time to have participants swap positions with coworkers in another area of your company. Ask each worker to identify and assess their coworker’s space for potential hazards. Afterward, ask “swappers” to share what they found with each other and to brainstorm together suggestions for fixing any hazards they identified.
- Hold a checklist challenge: If you don’t already have a safety checklist or standard operating procedures for your area, get workers and managers together to write procedures and create checklists or job aids. Have shifts or teams develop a checklist of potential hazards in their workspaces and suggest controls to address them. Reward and review the most thorough checklist during your next all-hands meeting.
- Act out safety scenarios and solicit solutions: Ask a group of workers to role-play scenarios showing various safety hazards or to reenact an incident or near miss during a Safe + Sound Week all-hands event. Look to your OSHA injury logs or workers’ compensation data for a scenario that is relatable to the audience. Encourage audience members to shout out ways to fix the hazards they’ve identified or ideas for what could have been done differently to prevent the incident.
Show your commitment
Share your commitment to a safe and healthy workplace with all involved in your operations, including workers, contractors, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders. Incorporate good ideas that arose from these contests, hunts, swaps and role-plays into future prevention planning. Create a to-do list of outstanding hazard controls to address and improve upon, and post it in break rooms or on your intranet site. In your next company newsletter or communication to workers, talk about contest and challenge winners, what was learned from the exercise and what has changed. Compare contest results and notes among different locations or shifts to encourage communication and cooperation throughout the organization. Finally, be sure to publicize results and winners.
Visit the Safe + Sound Campaign website, www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek, to learn more about finding and fixing hazards.
Safe + Sound Week Aug. 13–19 raises awareness and understanding of the value of safety and health programs that include management leadership, worker participation and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards in workplaces.
Why participate? Safe workplaces are sound businesses. Successful safety and health programs can proactively identify and manage workplace hazards before they cause injury or illness, improving sustainability and the bottom line. Participating in Safe + Sound Week can help get your program started or energize an existing one.
For more, visit www.osha.gov/safeandsoundweek.
- Show support: Have senior managers participate in these activities and recognize winners.
- Get a new perspective: Pair different types of workers together, such as sales and warehouse staff.
- Write it down: Whenever new hazards or good control ideas are identified, record and share them where workers can see them, whether on the company intranet or a board in the break room.
- Share lessons learned: Debrief after activities to discuss what everyone learned about hazards.
- Make it fun: Engage workers at all levels—this makes for more friendly competition.
- Reinforce good practices: When awarding prizes or recognizing participation, make sure that you highlight practices that support the elements of a successful safety and health program.