8 September Safety Topics Your Staff Should Be Aware Of
It’s September! This means we can start to wave goodbye to the scorching weather and begin to look at some all-new safety topics. For some extra inspiration, look back at our July Safety Topics and August Safety Topics pieces. September’s safety calendar is a busy one, so there are plenty of observation and awareness days as well as month-long events.
Below, you will find a safety calendar, and a list of topics and free resources to use.
Every year, the U.S. has 40,000 hospitalizations due to scalds and burns. While these are a combination of household and workplaces incidents, workplace accidents are very preventable. One way to do it is to ensure you’re using “the right tool for the job”.
Workplace burns, scalds, and hazards include:
Thermal burns: from hot liquids, open flames, hot objects, and explosions.
Chemical burns: skin or eyes getting in contact with acids, alkaloids, or corrosive materials including industrial cleaners.
Electrical burns: heat burns from electrical currents.
Sun exposure burns: caused by working outside in the heat and extended exposure to sunlight.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to make sure (under OSHA law) that not only is the workplace safe, but that sufficient training and hazard communications have been shared with your team.
As part of National Preparedness Month, another measure might include renewed fire hazard awareness training.
A report in 2018 from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) showed that there is an average of 37,910 industrial and manufacturing fires annually. These resulted in 16 deaths, 273 injuries, and $1.2 billion of damage.
One critical element of fire safety is OSHA’s fire extinguisher height and placement requirements. Around 80% of fires can be extinguished using portable extinguishers, so your team should also be familiar with the types of fires they may be faced with, typical workplace fire hazards, and the right fire extinguisher to use in each situation. This is all covered in the below safety talk.
September also brings with it Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, organized by the Foundation For Women’s Cancer. With the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reporting 89,000 diagnoses each year and 29,000 deaths annually, gynecological cancers can be deadly.
There are five forms of gynecological cancers, each with different symptoms and signs.
Cervical cancer: infection of the cervix with HPV
Ovarian cancer: cancer that begins in the ovaries or lining of the fallopian tubes
Uterine cancer: forming in the tissue of the uterus, including endometrial cancer
Vaginal cancer: cancer that starts in the vagina and can spread to the lungs and lymph nodes
Vulvar cancer: forming in the external genitalia.
Besides gynecological forms of cancer, occupational cancer is just as deadly. Caused by exposure to carcinogens at work, each industry has its own risks. This can include everything from pesticides and engine exhausts to asbestos and solvents. Luckily, there are plenty of steps to take to reduce the risk of this. The below safety resources can boost the awareness of these diseases in your workplace. Use them at your next safety meeting.
September 17 brings with it Concussion Awareness Day. With plenty of risk factors in workplaces for head injuries, it’s important that everyone has the information they need to not only identify but to respond to possible concussions. Concussions need immediate attention and urgent responses, so the importance of this can’t be stressed enough!
A concussion can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head. It occurs when the brain and the head move back and forth too quickly. This can cause the brain to bounce or twist. At work, a concussion is often caused by falls, being hit by an object, or being part of an accident when behind the wheel of a vehicle. A common misconception is that a concussion can only occur if someone has passed out but this is not true.
An urgent response to a concussion includes:
Immediate medical attention (even if there are no symptoms)
Get the employee to stop work and sit down
Tell the supervisor
Don’t let them operate machinery, drive or do any heavy lifting.
Everything your team needs to know about concussions and preventing concussions (with suitable PPE such as hard hats) can be found in the below safety talk.
With National Cholesterol Education Month in September, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss heart attacks and strokes.
High cholesterol is one big risk factor for heart attacks. Others include obesity, a poor diet, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes. The risk also increases significantly with age, with 50% of those aged 45 at risk of Cardiovascular disease (CVD), and an 80% risk for those aged 65+.
For your next workplace safety topic, consider discussing the risk factors, symptoms, and signs to look out for in the workplace when it comes to heart attacks and strokes at work.
Ideally, safety talks should be delivered by the appointed safety leader. In some situations, a safety champion can lead under supervision as part of their training.
How often should you conduct safety talks?
A quick toolbox talk can be delivered each morning before work commences. Regular safety talks can be scheduled weekly or monthly, and safety training and refresher training should be constant.
Where should safety talks be conducted?
Conducting a safety talk onsite is the most relevant way to do it, where your talk and safety tips will be put to use immediately. However, you can schedule safety talks with a room and a whiteboard when you need to go more in-depth.
September brings with it plenty of toolbox talk inspiration. With a calendar bursting full of key safety dates and observations, there’s plenty to talk about. Remember to run your toolbox talks at least once every other day, if not each day, to keep them relevant and in the forefront of your colleague’s minds before they start work. And, for the long-term, keep our monthly safety topics bookmarked to make sure you stay on top.
Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for next month’s article: October safety topics.