While April traditionally means brighter days and holidays such as Easter and Lent, this doesn’t mean workplace standards should slip! As with all the other months of the year, April is another great opportunity to educate your colleagues on safety with some relevant topics and safety messages.
While our February safety topics piece centered around cold temperatures and winter weather, our March safety topics began to look at the implications of the change in weather, longer days, and effective PPE in the warmer temperatures. In April, we will look at evergreen safety topics as well as the most important spring hazards…
April safety events
April is a busy month for safety events. And this is a great source of inspiration! The themes of these events can help inform your toolbox talks and your April safety program.
We’ve put together a chronological list below of all the safety days, weeks, and events to observe throughout April 2021. Some of these events are virtual, such as the Truckload Carriers Association spring meeting — in place of their rescheduled annual convention set to run on the same dates. Others are days of observation, such as Worker’s Memorial Day on Wednesday 28 April 2021. Days such as these should be acknowledged and are a good opportunity to get your coworkers involved to highlight the importance of workplace safety.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
NSC: National Safety Council
National Window Safety Week
Window Safety Task Force
National Public Health Week
American Public Health Association
National Walking Day
US Department of Transportation
World Health Day
World Health Organization
2021 Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) Spring Business Meetings
Truckload Carriers Association
2021 Annual Virtual Safety Conference
WI Safety Council
Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety
National Work Zone Awareness Week
American Traffic Safety Services Association
Workers’ Memorial Day
American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations
The most common types of hazards in the workplace in spring
Due to the changes in weather in the spring, there are a few common hazards to look out for.
The spring months are more susceptible to severe fluctuations in weather — far more than December, January, or February. This can be difficult for outdoor workers, as they need to be prepared for sudden cold temperatures and wind, rain or hail. This can also mean weather extremes such as tornadoes or flooding. So, although the weather is improving generally, you need to make sure your employees don’t let their guard down.
Slips, trips and falls
Again, the changes in temperature and weather can mean lots of mud and slippery conditions. Not only does this affect outdoor workers, but indoor workers, too — particularly in communal areas such as a lunch area or commonly-used areas such as stairs. Create a spring risk assessment as part of your fall protection plan at work.
As the weather improves, we are more likely to come into contact with insects and ticks. So, although the temperatures are getting warmer, long sleeves and gloves should still be worn outdoors for hazard prevention.
April safety topics
Now, the fun part! Here are our top picks for engaging April safety topics. While each of these comes with downloadable resources to use, it’s important to tweak them to work for your colleagues. For example, if you know they engage well with safety leadership quotes, then use these topics to find relevant quotes to use. For example, when talking about road safety, “Prepare, Protect, Prevent” (or PPP) by OSHA is a relevant quote to use.
However, if your coworkers prefer funny videos, you may want to check out our list of TikTok safety channels and find a relevant video you can share to get your message across.
Truckload and road safety
One of the ongoing themes in April is truckload and road safety. This is highlighted by two of the key events this month: National Work Zone Awareness Month and Distracted Driving Awareness Month. For best-practice tips, Road Safety USA has lots of articles and resources you can browse. They also have content around the COVID-19 crisis and the impact of this on the volume of vehicle crashes. Feel free to use these as inspiration or download the driving awareness safety talk below.
Common trucker injuries
OSHA has put together a list of common trucker illnesses and injuries. While not only applicable to spring months, now is a good time to make your employees aware of the potential hazards this profession brings. The OSHA trucker injuries list includes:
- Strains and sprains
- Wrist/arm bruises and fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Soreness and pain
Another resource you can use is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association’s Large Truck and Bus Crash facts with a printable version. Although upsetting, it’s important to remind your drivers of the importance of safety when driving large vehicles on a regular basis. Below you will find a range of downloadable safety topics, covering all important aspects of driving a truck.
Keeping along the driver safety theme, another important safety topic is cell phone use. The National Safety Council (NSC) has a whole subsection of distracted driving on cell phones. Not only is it important as supervisors to share with your colleagues the dangers and statistics around cell phone distracted driving, but it’s also important to explain how distractions and accidents occur. A good resource for this part of your April safety program is this whitepaper on cell phone distracted driving by NSC which provides lots of insights. And, of course, we have prepared a downloadable safety talk you can use right away.
“Right tool for the job”
While it might sound obvious, a “right tool for the job” safety talk is essential in the workplace. Not only does it reduce workplace accidents, but it also improves the longevity of your tools when they’re all used for the right job. Using the right tool is also likely to make the job easier!
While the adage mentions tools, it should also apply to PPE. Using the right personal protective equipment is crucial for all jobs, even if it feels inconvenient to your staff at the time. OSHA has a comprehensive guide using hand and power tools which is worth reading. However, you may wish to condense it into some small takeaway points to work safely with tools such as:
- Operating tools according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Examining each tool before use
- Keep a regular maintenance schedule.
Another part of your safety discussions this month can focus on near misses. This topic ties in nicely with the National Work Zone Awareness Week on April 26-30.
OSHA defines a near-miss as an incident “in which a worker might have been hurt if the circumstances were slightly different”. Although not the ideal way to discover hazards in the workplace, near-miss reporting is crucial. If you need some inspiration on where to start, our list of near miss toolbox talks articles gives you 14 examples to help drive awareness and improve workplace safety. Also, if you’re working at an industrial plant, take a look at our manufacturing best practices and manufacturing safety topics for some inspiration.
On the same theme as near misses, incident reporting is equally as important of a safety topic. Therefore, it’s important to remind your colleagues about the importance of reporting any incidents, however small. Reportable incidents are:
While incident investigations are often for managers to make note of, it’s important that colleagues and anyone near the incident also helps the investigation. Therefore, your staff needs to be aware of the potential risks at work and to all play their part in reducing injuries. Simple ways of doing this include:
- Playing their part in preventing dangerous situations
- Reporting all incidents and near-misses
- Knowing who to report unsafe and dangerous practices to internally
- Following safety rules including the correct use of PPE and the right tools for the job, and encouraging colleagues to do the same.
Here at SafetyStage, we talk a lot about the benefits of improving safety culture in the workplace. But developing a culture of safety is a long-term task! So, to continuously nurture a culture of safety, create toolbox talks, safety programs and keep your content relevant each month. And, at all times, remember the first tip of safety culture: lead by example.
With the sunshine just around the corner, April safety topics are beginning to shift away from the dull and dreary weather, and further towards warmer temperatures and brighter days. Be sure to pay attention to the safety events of each month and acknowledge days such as Workers Memorial Day and World Health Day. By doing this, you can create a positive culture of safety year-round. And, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for our next installation: May safety topics!