6 Hot June Safety Topics To Discuss During National Safety Month

June is finally here! Our May safety topics piece covered adjustments to the warm weather. But now we’re at the beginning of summer and it’s time to amp up our awareness. Safety professionals will also know that June is National Safety Month, but this year is also the 25th anniversary of the event that started in 1996.
In this month’s review, we’ll take a look at the upcoming safety events, some June safety topics as well as some resources for your safety topics. Let’s get started!

June safety events

April and May saw 10 safety events and acknowledgements each, and June is set to be another busy month. With the highlight of the month being, of course, National Safety Month in America, there is plenty to talk about this month. Use the calendar below to stay up-to-date, with links to each sponsor for resources. 

EventSponsorDate(s)
National Safety MonthNational Safety CouncilJune
Brain Injury Awareness MonthThe Brain Injury Association of CanadaJune
Stroke Awareness MonthHeart And Stroke Foundation of CanadaJune
National Trailer Safety WeekNational Association of Trailer ManufacturersJune 6-12
National Ride To Work DayNational Highway Traffic Safety AdministrationJune 21

June safety topics 

It’s important to note that June was initially established as the National Safety Month in the United States because they wanted to increase awareness of the health and safety risks that are increased in the summer months. With the warm weather comes increased risks and new hazards to consider, so working safely in the heat should be the focal point of your safety talks this month.

Below, the NSC has also created a month of weekly topics for National Safety Month. We’ve also added some relevant resources for each topic below.

WeekTheme
OnePrevent Incidents Before They Start
TwoAddress Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Concerns
ThreeIt’s Vital to Feel Safe on the Job
FourAdvance Your Safety Journey

Ladder safety

The first week of National Safety Month covers preventing incidents before they start. The NSC says this week is about “Identifying risks and taking proactive safety measures to reduce hazard exposure on important topics from ergonomics to chemical management is crucial to creating a safe workplace.”

Ladder safety and fall protection are key safety topics that help improve incident prevention. As the number one OSHA standard violated in 2020, many workplaces still haven’t got to grips with the correct ladder safety procedures. With falls as one of the leading causes of preventable injuries at work and of fatalities in the construction industry, it’s important to remind your staff of what’s expected.

One way of making working at heights safe is with the use of harnesses. OSHA’s harness inspection requirements says that a qualified or competent person should inspect a harness every time it needs to be used. The agency’s harness inspection checklist is a great resource and we’ve also featured our favorite fall protection toolbox talks below. 

DOWNLOAD FALL PROTECTION TOOLBOX TALK

COVID-19 safety

Week two of National Safety Month’s topic is meant to “Address ongoing COVID-19 safety concerns”. The NCS says “As the pandemic continues, employers play an important role in expanding operations and returning remote workers to physical workspaces, building trust around vaccines, supporting mental health and so much more.”

At the time of writing, OSHA is yet to update their guidance for workers who are fully vaccinated, so the two best sources of information are:

Although we are seeing small returns to pre-pandemic life, COVID-19 safety is still a critical topic to cover. That’s why it’s a good idea to share weekly reminders of the current relevant guidelines in your safety talks. The CDC has even created specific guidance for industries and job roles such as Manufacturing, Construction, Mining, Agricultural Workers and more to help.

Some smaller COVID-19 topics to discuss include in your safety meetings:

  • COVID-19 tool cleaning
  • Proper face mask usage
  • Cleaning & disinfection
  • Any changes to PPE (baring in mind the summer and COVID).

DOWNLOAD TOOLBOX TALKS

Report unsafe conditions ASAP

Week 3 of the NSC’s National Safety Month plan is under the motto “It’s Vital to Feel Safe on the Job”. They say that “Being able to be one’s self at work without fear of retaliation is necessary for an inclusive safety culture. Leading organizations focus not only on physical safety, but psychological safety as well.”

One of the biggest factors in incident and injury prevention is encouraging staff to report unsafe working conditions. Federal law states that everyone is entitled to a safe workplace, and they have the right to speak up about hazards or potential concerns without fear of retaliation.

Workers also have the right to:

  • Receive health and safety training at work in a language they understand
  • Work on safe machines
  • Recieve all required safety equipment and PPE (personal protective equipment)
  • Be protected against toxic chemicals
  • Request an OSHA inspection
  • Report workplace injuries or illnesses
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses
  • View the results of workplace hazard tests

Encouraging your staff to speak up can reduce preventable injuries, illnesses and even fatalities. So, it’s a crucial part of maintaining workplace safety. 

That being said, here is our selection of toolbox talks related to reporting unsafe conditions. 

DOWNLOAD SAFETY TALKS

Safety champions

The fourth and final week of the month is called “Advance your safety journey” because “safety is all about continuous improvement.”

Having a safety champion in the team is an effective way of keeping your workplace safe, engaging your employees and driving a positive safety culture. Sometimes, staff may feel uncomfortable bringing safety concerns to a manager, but a safety champion bridges the gap between the two.

The role of the safety champion is to:

  • Keep the workforce motivated
  • Lead by example with a positive attitude and approach to health and safety
  • Give ideas from them and their colleagues to improve safety
  • Support safety culture and creating a positive environment
  • Get to grips with hazard recognition and mitigating wherever possible
  • Work with the management team to put in effective safety policies

SAFETY CHAMPION CHECKLIST

Effective tool safety

As with all months, effective tool safety is important. However, in the summer months there are lots of additional factors to consider:

  • Suitable PPE that doesn’t cause heat stress when in use 
  • Machinery or tools overheating
  • Keeping tools safe while not in use — including out of direct sunlight
  • Appropriate workwear that won’t get caught in tools such as loose clothing or jewelry

Throughout the year, it’s important to stress the importance of using the right tools for the job.

DOWNLOAD SAFETY TALK

Indoor and outdoor workers alike are often affected by heat in the workplace. June, July, August and September are critical months to be aware of for heat-related illnesses and injuries. 

Hot and humid conditions can lead to workplace illness such as:

  • Heat stroke
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat cramps
  • Heat syncope
  • Heat rash
  • Muscle breakdown

So, it’s important not only to familiarize yourself and your team with the symptoms and signs to look out for. It’s also important to make sure everyone is up-to-date with the First Aid guidelines.

In order to prevent workplace illnesses due to heat, OSHA has developed a Heat Safety Tool as an app which works on iPhones and Androids. It allows workers to calculate the heat index for their worksite in real-time, along with a risk level. It then sends reminders about the relevant protective measures that are needed to prevent heat-related illnesses – based on the heat index. These include:

  • Scheduling regular rest breaks
  • Drinking suitable fluids
  • Emergency planning
  • Gradual workload increases for new staff and/or those not used to working outside for long periods
  • Monitoring each other for symptoms of illness

DOWNLOAD HEAT EXPOSURE RESOURCE

FAQ

Why is June National Safety Month?

June is National Safety Month to raise awareness of the health and safety risks that are increased in the summer months. 

What’s the theme for National Safety Month 2021?

National Safety Month 2021 has four key weekly themes:

  • Prevent incidents before they start
  • Address ongoing COVID-19 safety concerns
  • It’s vital to feel safe on the job
  • Advance your safety journey

Conclusion

In June, National Safety Month often takes priority. Instead of making up toolbox talks from scratch, why not use the weekly June safety topics that the NSC provides? By doing this, you’re actively engaging your staff in the purpose of the month — raising awareness — while keeping them up-to-date with their relevant safety training. 

Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for next month’s article: July safety topics.

References and further reading