man in safety helmet raising hands in air in celebration

A New Year for New Safety Resolutions

As we bid farewell to one year and welcome another, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our safety practices and set New Year’s resolutions to ensure a safe and secure work environment for the coming year.

Prioritizing employee safety not only protects your most important asset, but also enhances productivity, fosters a positive organizational culture, and helps you make sure you are fulfilling your fiduciary responsibilities as district leaders.

I know New Year’s resolutions are idealistic goals that are often made at the beginning of the year and slip out of our minds by the middle of February (if you are really determined). If you want this year to be different, it is important to challenge yourself and your staff to create a New Year’s resolution that will make a lasting impact on the safety of your district, especially if 2023 did not turn out the way you had planned.

You may be asking, “How do I create a goal that will benefit our district and make the largest impact?” This can be a daunting question with many answers.

Although there are several ways to approach this question, one of the most effective resources to help guide you is through your loss data. Loss data can show you where your district is experiencing the most loses. For example, if your data shows that most loses are coming from slips, trips, and falls, then you may want to create a resolution based on reducing those injuries.

Another option is to start or revitalize a safety committee. If you are looking for tips on getting back into the swing of things, or getting started altogether, we can share safety committees best practices from districts that are similar to yours. We will even come out to your district and facilitate the first couple meetings.

Remember, a step in the direction of added safety and increased loss prevention is better than no step at all. And the start of a new year is the best time to implement new ideas, as people are already primed for change.

Some other options for resolutions include:

1. Schedule Safety Trainings:

One of the most effective ways to maintain a safe workplace and improve safety is through comprehensive safety training programs.

In the coming year, resolve to evaluate and improve your company’s training initiatives and request trainings early so they are on your calendar—then all you have to do is show up when the date arrives. When considering what trainings may be best suited for your workplace, conduct thorough assessments to identify what trainings you are currently conducting and what trainings you would like to add or revamp. Ensure employees are well-versed in emergency procedures, proper equipment usage, and hazard recognition.

By investing in training, you empower your workforce to prevent accidents and respond effectively in case of emergencies. As part of your CSD Pool Membership, we can help facilitate most of these trainings at no cost. For more information please reach out to us at safety@csdpool.org or visit csdpool.org/safety/consulting.

2. Perform Regular Safety Inspections:

Make a resolution to conduct regular safety inspections to identify potential hazards and address them promptly. Inspections should cover areas such as equipment, machinery, workstations, and common areas. Encourage employees to report any safety concerns they notice and create a culture that values proactive hazard identification.

By prioritizing regular inspections, you create an environment where potential risks are mitigated before they can cause harm. Just like implementing safety programs, this may seem daunting, but do not pout or cry. As part of your CSD Pool membership, our team can help walk you through a site inspection and provide you with a checklist you can use for internal inspections.

3. Improve Safety Communication and Incident Reporting:

Effective communication is vital for a strong safety culture.

Resolve to enhance safety communication channels within your organization. The best way to do this is to create a culture based around the principle “if you see something say something.” The goal is to promote open dialogue between management and employees, encouraging the reporting of near misses, accidents, and safety suggestions without fear of repercussions.

This is a way to encourage your team to notify you of hazards they see, with the goal of resolving them before they cause an injury. This will do two things.

First, as your team reports issues and they are resolved, it will reduce the number of hazards in the workplace and create a safer work environment. Second, it will build a strong level of trust between you and your team, because they will know you care about their wellbeing if you address concerns they bring up.

If you are in need of help tracking and reporting incidents or accidents, the CSD Pool is offering one year free of Vector Solutions’ incident management software, Vector EHS. This tool is best used by districts with more than 50 employees—although smaller districts can still make use of it—that also have a staff member or department dedicated to safety.

4. Update Safety Policies and Procedures:

The start of a new year is an opportune moment to review and update your company’s safety policies and procedures. I suggest reading over your policies with the team members they apply to.

The goal is to ensure they align with current regulations and industry best practices and to make sure employees are actually following them. I would not use this to punish employees who are not following the procedures, rather this should be an opportunity to discuss why procedures are not being followed and making adjustments to make sure policies align with the work. Communicate the updated policies clearly to all staff members and provide training, if needed, to ensure compliance. Regularly revisit and revise these policies as necessary throughout the year.

5. Encourage a Safety-First Mindset:

Cultivating a safety-first mindset is crucial for a building a strong safety culture. Encourage all employees to take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their colleagues. Recognize and reward individuals who demonstrate exemplary safety practices. Consider implementing safety performance metrics and integrating safety into performance evaluations.

In addition, you can nominate an employee for the CSD Pool’s Safety Hero award by visiting csdpoool.org/hero.

By creating a culture that prioritizes safety, you foster a sense of collective responsibility and reduce the likelihood of accidents. One creative idea is to enact a “safety stop” policy. Give each employee a “safety coin.” This is a coin the district creates for the “safety stop” policy and can include the company logo and a saying that will make the employees think about their safety (you can also designate a different item for this purpose if it works better for your employees). Tell your employees that if they ever feel like an act or process is unsafe, they can lay down the coin and all work will stop. The process will then be discussed and work will not resume until all employees feel comfortable with it.

6. Enact an Employee Wellness Program

True employee wellbeing does not stop with safe work procedures—it should be involved in each part of your life. A great resolution is to encourage employee wellness. This could include adding a fitness workout incentive or a tobacco cessation program.

You could also include or encourage mental health counseling, dietary counseling, and financial wellness. Our goal is to keep our employees safe and healthy so they can fulfill their duties and still have enough left in the tank to make the most of the time with their families at the end of the day. Taking care of your employees has shown to reduce loss time cost, reduce absenteeism, and improve moral.

According to a Statista 79% of employees involved in an employer sponsored wellness program reported greater productivity and has help reduce sickness.

As we embrace a new year, let us renew our commitment to workplace safety. By implementing these New Year’s resolutions, companies can make significant strides in creating a safer work environment. Investing in safety training, conducting regular inspections, improving safety communication, updating policies and procedures, fostering a safety-first mindset, and improving overall wellness are all essential steps on this journey.

Remember, a safe workplace not only protects employees but also contributes to the overall success of the district. So, let safety be the cornerstone of your district’s New Year’s resolutions.

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