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    A safety stand-down is an event where employers engage directly with employees about safety.
    They provide an opportunity for the workforce to take a break and focus on safety-related
    discussions. These discussions can range from job-specific hazards, protective methods, and
    the company’s safety policies, goals, and expectations. Sometimes, stand-downs are a reactive
    response to a safety-related incident, but they can also be a proactive tool for safety education,
    ensuring a team is aware of a potential incident or risk.

    Stand-downs foster a culture of safety among workers, which is helpful in reducing work-related
    incidents. Additionally, safety stand-downs are not just for major incidents. Construction firms
    can also use them to discuss near-misses and other potential hazards, reinforcing the
    importance of constant vigilance on the job site. This proactive approach helps prevent
    accidents before they happen.

    It’s important to recognize that stand-downs are a collective responsibility. Everyone, from top
    management to onsite workers, plays a role in ensuring a safety stand-down runs successfully.
    This collaborative effort not only ensures the effectiveness of the stand-down, but also
    strengthens the overall safety culture within the organization. OSHA recognizes the importance
    of these events, which is why they hold a National Safety stand-down event each year, where
    employers can receive a certificate of participation.

    Safety stand-downs in construction are a vital tool in promoting and maintaining safety
    standards on job sites. They provide a platform for open dialogue about safety, encourage
    collective responsibility, and ultimately help in reducing the occurrence of severe safety
    violations, injuries, and deaths in the construction industry.

    Safety stand-downs are typically initiated on a voluntary basis by a project team, which may
    include the project director, project manager, and the site safety representative. The team
    collectively decides when to hold a safety stand-down, typically in response to an identified
    safety concern or risk.

    Despite their importance, there are several misconceptions about safety stand-downs.
    Understanding these misconceptions can help construction firms hold successful stand-downs
    that can make a difference in jobsite safety.

    Safety stand-downs are for major incidents

    Stand-downs are not only held following major safety incidents. They can also be used to
    discuss near-misses and other potential hazards. Safety teams can also hold stand-downs
    when there is a development in the local or national construction industry, such as an accident
    at a nearby jobsite. This proactive approach helps prevent accidents before they happen.

    Only safety personnel are responsible successful safety stand-downs

    The success of a safety stand-down is not solely the responsibility of the safety officer or
    management. Everyone, from the top management to the on-ground workers, plays a role in
    ensuring a successful safety stand-down. When the construction team works together, they can
    highlight just how important safety is and make the issue hit home with workers.

    Safety stand-downs are one-size-fits-all

    The format and content of a safety stand-down can vary depending on the specific needs and
    circumstances of a workplace. Some might involve formal presentations, while others might be
    more interactive, with discussions and demonstrations. Construction firms should tailor their
    safety stand-downs to meet the needs of their project.

     

    Safety trainings are a replacement for safety stand-downs

    Some construction firms could wrap a safety stand-down into regularly scheduled safety training
    events. While safety training is crucial, it does not replace the need for safety stand-downs.
    Stand-downs provide an opportunity for open dialogue about safety, which can reinforce the
    lessons from training and allow for the discussion of recent incidents or specific hazards.
    Safety stand-downs, when properly planned and executed, can significantly enhance the safety
    culture within a construction firm. They are an essential part of a comprehensive approach to
    safety that involves everyone from top management to onsite workers. By fostering open
    dialogue about safety, promoting collective responsibility, and continuously reviewing and
    improving safety procedures, construction firms can significantly reduce the risk of work-related
    incidents and create a safer, healthier work environment for all.

    To some people, the word “housekeeping” calls to mind cleaning floors and surfaces, removing
    dust, and organizing clutter. It means much more in a work setting.

    Housekeeping is crucial for safe workplaces. It can help prevent injuries and improve
    productivity and morale, as well as make a good first impression on visitors. It also can help an
    employer avoid potential fines for non-compliance.

    The practice extends from traditional offices to industrial workplaces, including factories,
    warehouses and manufacturing plants that present special challenges such as hazardous
    materials, combustible dust, and other flammables. Experts agree that all workplace safety
    programs should incorporate housekeeping, and every worker should play a part.

    Prevent slips, trips, and falls

    Slips, trips, and falls cause nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses involving days away from
    work.

    To help prevent slip, trip, and fall incidents, we recommend the following:

    o Report and clean up spills and leaks.
    o Keep aisles and exits clear of items.
    o Consider installing mirrors and warning signs to help with blind spots.
    o Replace worn, ripped or damaged flooring.
    o Consider installing anti-slip flooring in areas that can’t always be cleaned.
    o Use drip pans and guards.

    In addition, provide mats, platforms, false floors or “other dry standing places” where useful,
    according to OSHA. Every workplace should be free of projecting nails, splinters, holes, and
    loose boards.

    Eliminate fire hazards

    Employees should be responsible for keeping unnecessary combustible materials from
    accumulating in the work area. Combustible waste should be “stored in covered metal
    receptacles and disposed of daily,” according to OSHA’s Hazardous Materials Standard
    (1910.106).

     

    o Keep combustible materials in the work area only in amounts needed for the job. When
    they are unneeded, move them to an assigned safe storage area.
    o Store quick-burning, flammable materials in designated locations away from ignition
    sources.
    o Avoid contaminating clothes with flammable liquids. Change clothes if contamination
    occurs.
    o Keep passageways and fire doors free of obstructions. Stairwell doors should be kept
    closed. Do not store items in stairwells.

    o Hazards in electrical areas should be reported, and work orders should be issued to fix
    them.
    o An industrial hygienist should test the workplace for exposures if air quality and dust are
    concerns.
    o Dust also can affect equipment’s length of life and quality of products.

     

    Avoid tracking materials

    Work-area mats – which can be cloth or sticky-topped – should be kept clean and maintained.
    This helps prevent the spread of hazardous materials to other work areas or home. Check all mats
    to ensure they are not tripping hazards.

    Additionally, separate cleaning protocols may be needed for different areas to prevent cross-
    contamination. For example, avoid using the same mop to clean both an oily spill and in another
    area.

    If the materials are toxic, industrial hygiene testing, uniforms and showering facilities might be
    needed. Employees who work with toxic materials should not wear their work clothes home.

    Prevent falling objects

    Protections such as a toe board, toe rail or net can help prevent objects from falling and hitting
    workers or equipment.

    Other tips include stacking boxes and materials straight up and down to keep them from falling.
    Place heavy objects on lower shelves and keep equipment away from the edges of desks and
    tables. Also, refrain from stacking objects in areas where workers walk, including aisles.

    Keep layout in mind so workers are not exposed to hazards as they walk through areas.

    Clear clutter

    A cluttered workplace can lead to ergonomics issues and possible injuries because workers have
    less space to move.

    Workers should be encouraged to return tools and other materials to storage after using them and
    dispose of materials that are no longer needed.

    Keep aisles, stairways, emergency exits, electrical panels and doors clear of clutter, and purge
    untidy areas. Empty trash receptacles before they overflow.

    Store materials properly

    Storage areas should not have an accumulation of materials that present hazards for tripping, fire,
    explosion, or pests.

    Some workers make the mistake of storing ladders or other items inside electrical closets where
    they can block an electrical panel, creating a fire hazard and violating OSHA regulations.

    Unused materials and equipment should be stored out of the way of workers. Avoid using
    workspaces for storage and remember to put everything back in its proper place.

    It is recommended keeping a storage space nearby so workers are encouraged to use it.

    Use and inspect personal protective equipment and tools

    Employees who did not wear PPE when cleaning up spills or other material, such as broken glass
    or plywood, will suffer cuts or splinters.

    Wear basic PPE – such as closed-toe shoes and safety glasses – while performing housekeeping.
    Determine what type of PPE to wear based on the potential risks.

    Regularly inspect, clean and fix tools. Remove any damaged tools from the work area.

    Determine frequency

    All workers should participate in housekeeping, especially in terms of keeping their own work
    areas tidy, reporting safety hazards, and cleaning up spills, if possible.

    Before the end of a shift, workers should inspect and clean their workspaces and remove unused
    materials. This dedication can reduce time spent cleaning later.

    How much debris or contaminants the workplace releases can help determine the frequency of
    housekeeping. A company should have a mixture of deep cleaning and more frequent, lighter
    cleaning that involves sweeping and responding to spills.

    Create written rules

    Housekeeping policies should be put in writing, that way, they are formal and defined. Written
    protocols could specify which cleaners, tools and methods should be used.

    Think long-term

    Housekeeping should be more than a one-time initiative – it should continue through monitoring
    and auditing. Keep records, maintain a regular walkthrough inspection schedule, report hazards
    and train employees to help sustain housekeeping. Set goals and expectations, and base auditing
    on those goals.

    In order to foster a safe and secure work environment, it is essential to develop strong safety
    habits. Here are eight key habits that can help organizations build an effective safety culture. By
    implementing these habits, companies can reduce accidents, protect their employees, and
    enhance productivity. From promoting open communication to providing regular safety
    training, these habits can make a significant difference in creating a culture where safety is a
    top priority.

    1) Stop Making Safety a Priority.

    Safety is a crucial aspect of any workplace or activity, but it shouldn't be treated as
    just another item on a to-do list. Rather, safety should be ingrained as a core value
    within an organization or individual. By prioritizing safety, we risk treating it as a
    checkbox item that can be overlooked or rushed through. On the other hand, by
    making safety a value, we create a culture of mindfulness and accountability, where
    each person takes responsibility for their own safety and that of others. Let's shift
    our mindset from simply prioritizing safety to valuing it as an integral part of our
    daily lives.

    2) Make it Safe to Raise Concerns.

    Provide a safe and confidential platform for employees to raise concerns without
    fear of retaliation. We understand the importance of creating a culture of trust and
    transparency, which is why this system allows for anonymous reporting and secure
    communication between employees and management. By implementing this
    solution, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to fostering a safe and
    respectful workplace for all employees.

    3) Make Safety a Responsibility of Operations.

    The importance of safety cannot be overstated, and it is essential to create a culture
    that prioritizes it. By making safety a responsibility of operations, you can establish a
    safety culture that empowers everyone to take ownership of their own safety and
    that of their colleagues. This approach enables you to focus on leading indicators,
    identify potential risks, and take proactive measures to prevent incidents from
    happening. Implementing safety habits in your operations can help you achieve this
    goal. These habits are designed to instill a safety-first mindset, cultivate a culture of
    accountability, and promote continuous improvement. By making safety a priority,
    you can create a safer work environment, reduce incidents, and improve overall
    performance.

    4) Focus Left of Zero.

    Just culture is an essential component of any safety management system. By
    tracking and trending information from the field, we can identify potential accidents
    before they occur. When the first four habits are implemented together, we can
    proactively mitigate risks and prevent accidents. With our expertise in safety management,

    we can help you establish a just culture and enhance safety in your
    organization. Contact us today to learn more.

    5) Stop Managing People.

    This habit focuses on leadership principles that are essential in creating a culture
    that is sustainable in every environment. The only constant in life is that things will
    change. Be prepared to lead your team no matter what comes your way.

    6) Stop Trying to Fix the Worker and Fix the Work.

    Are you tired of constantly trying to motivate and improve your employees, only to
    see little to no results? It's time to shift your focus from fixing the worker to fixing
    the work. In today's fast-paced and ever-changing work environment, it's crucial to
    provide employees with the tools and resources they need to be successful. By
    taking a revolutionary approach to employee productivity, you can create a work
    environment that fosters growth, creativity, and innovation. Instead of blaming your
    employees for underperformance, take a hard look at your company's systems and
    processes. Are they outdated? Inefficient? Inflexible? By fixing the work, you can
    empower your employees to reach their full potential and achieve greater success.

    Join the movement and start fixing the work today!

    7) Find the STCKY (stuff that can kill you) and Stop the SIF (serious injuries and
    fatalities).

    Ensuring safety at work is crucial to prevent serious injuries and fatalities. The STCKY
    is an initiative that aims to raise awareness about potential hazards in the
    workplace. By identifying and eliminating STCKY items, we can create a safer work
    environment for everyone. This initiative focuses on preventing SIF by identifying
    and mitigating potential hazards. By increasing STCKY awareness and implementing
    safety measures, we can help keep our workers safe and reduce the number of
    workplace injuries and fatalities.

    8) Stop Trying to Influence Everyone.

    It's natural to want to be liked and respected by everyone around you, but trying to
    influence everyone can actually have the opposite effect. When you try to please
    everyone, you dilute your message and make it less impactful. Instead, focus on your
    core values and the audience that resonates with them. By speaking authentically to
    this group, you'll build a stronger connection and be more likely to inspire action.
    Remember, it's better to have a small group of passionate supporters than a large
    group of lukewarm followers. Don't waste your energy trying to influence everyone –
    target those who matter most to your cause.

     

     

    All safety programs should be built on the principles of human performance. Use these five
    principles designed by safety expert and author, Todd Conklin:
    o Error is normal. Even the best people make mistakes.
    o Blame fixes nothing.Learning and improving are vital. Learning is deliberate.
    o How you respond to failure matters. How leaders act and respond counts.
    o Context influences behavior. Systems drive outcomes.

    You can select as many or as few principles as you’d like. It all depends on your organization
    and what it is you are trying to accomplish.

    Also, consider the following:

    o Workers aren’t the problem; workers are the problem solvers.
    o Safety doesn’t prevent bad things from happening; rather, safety ensures good things
    happen while workers perform tasks in complex and adaptive work environments.
    o Safety is not defined by the absence of incidents but by the presence of capacity.

    There is a long list of possibilities for what can contribute to or cause a workplace injury. Unsafe
    conditions and unsafe acts are often the root cause of why injuries occur. Unsafe acts,
    especially, are a huge factor in the majority of workplace injuries.
    An estimated 80 out of 100 people who are involved in an incident are at fault for it. In this
    safety talk, we have five common contributing factors to workplace injuries.


    Five Contributing Factors:

    1. Distractions- There are many distractions that can take away focus from the work task at
      hand. These distractions can be in our actual work environment, such as clutter or noise,
      or a mental distraction. Mental distractions stemming from what is going on in
      our home life can serve as a huge disruption to getting tasks done safely at work.
    2. Complacency- Many workers do the same tasks over and over for many years. Because
      of this familiarity with their work, complacency can set in. Complacency leads to taking
      shortcuts or not following normal work procedures. When this occurs, an injury is more
      likely to occur on the job.
    3. Poor Housekeeping- Housekeeping is a major issue in some workplaces. Poor
      housekeeping leads to many different hazards. Some common injuries include slips,
      trips, falls, lacerations, sprains, and strains. A lack of housekeeping often is a signal that
      there are larger safety issues at hand.
    4. Poor Preplanning- The lack of planning leads to a huge number of issues. When the
      hazards of a new task are not evaluated prior to work beginning, hazards are going to be
      left uncontrolled. This leaves employees at risk for injury. Poor preplanning can also lead
      to issues with not having the correct equipment, tools, materials, personnel, and
      training for the work, as well as a lack of time to get the job done. All of these issues
      have their own unique safety implications.
    5. Taking Shortcuts- A major unsafe act that results in many workplace injuries is taking
      shortcuts. There are various reasons why a worker takes a shortcut, but eventually,
      enough safety shortcuts will lead to a workplace injury.

    Effective communication is critical to every aspect of a successful job. Being able to work safely
    especially relies on effective communication between everyone involved in a work task or on a
    jobsite. Effective communication requires having honest conversations, which includes bringing
    up and discussing issues as they arise.


    There are an endless amount of possible scenarios of when you should speak up and have an
    honest conversation to address an issue. Below are some general examples of when you need
    to stop and communicate an issue to get it resolved prior to continuing on.


    o When you see someone working unsafely.
    o When you do not have the proper training or knowledge to do the task at hand.
    o When you do not have the right tools or personnel to complete the task correctly.

    o When a safeguard is not implemented.
    o When a hazard is present that could injure you or others.


    How to Go About Communicating Issues


    o Take the time to have the conversations that need to be had to correct the situation.
    o Involve the right personnel in discussions.
    o If someone is working unsafely, stop and have a respectful conversation about it. If you
    do not feel comfortable approaching them, approach a supervisor.
    o Follow-up conversations, if necessary, to ensure the situation was resolved and
    measures are being taken, so it does not occur again.
    o If necessary, ensure that others outside the immediate work group are informed of the
    issue and/or the corrective actions of the situation that occurred. For example, an
    investigation report or lessons learned report may be necessary to inform others in the
    company, so a similar incident does not occur again.


    Proper communication is crucial for a job to run safely and efficiently. When communication is
    insufficient or missing totally, there can be many adverse consequences for employees and the
    company as a whole. Recognizing the safety communication tools for work tasks and the work
    environment is important to ensure the proper messages are being received.


    When someone says communication, the first thing you may think about is speaking words to
    another person or sending an email. These are just two ways to communicate, but there are
    many more ways found at work. Some other examples of communication and safety messages
    include posters, labels, warnings, bulletins, pictograms, JSAs, SOPs, body language, etc.
    Depending on any number of factors, each of these tools of communication can be very critical
    to help improve workplace safety.


    Effective communication and safety go hand in hand. If there is no communication for a
    given work task, then safety is also missing. Some common tools for communicating a safety
    message:


    o Training is a way to communicate how to do a task and how to do it safely and is one of
    the first methods of communication used when preparing for a work task.
    o JSAs are important tools to communicate the steps of a job task, the associated hazards
    of each step, and the mitigation actions to be able to work safely.
    o Safety meetings and workplace safety communications or toolbox talks discussing work
    tasks and the associated hazards of the work are very important for work crews. Paying
    attention to the safety meeting information and safety protocols can protect you during
    your work task that day or sometime in the future.
    o Labels are found on almost every piece of equipment, tool, and chemical in the
    workplace. Manufacturers put these health and safety information labels on for a
    reason. They often relay some of the most important safety information regarding the
    hazards and safeguards of that product.


    There are many other ways to advocate safety communication in the workplace. Verbal
    communication is also very important. When you see a situation where someone could be hurt,
    or there could be property loss, you should always speak up. Have a conversation with the

    individuals involved in the task to voice your safety concerns. Involve the right personnel to
    correct a situation before any serious negative consequences occur like employee injuries.
    There are many different methods to communicate a message. It is important to recognize the
    communication tools used on the job that relay important information for your work task and
    the work environment. Verbal communication is not the only way to send and receive a
    message.


    When someone says communication, the first thing you may think about is speaking words to
    another person or sending an email. These are just two ways to communicate, but there are
    many more ways found at work. Some other examples of communication include posters,
    labels, warnings, bulletins, pictograms, JSAs, SOPs, body language, etc. Depending on any
    number of factors, each of these tools of communication can be very critical to working safely.


    Safety Posters
    Many hours and a lot of money are spent by companies to develop ideas for posters,
    implement the ideas behind the poster on the job, and print them out for their job sites. Safety
    posters vary greatly in what information they are displaying. While some just have a few words
    of motivation, others can give great detail on a common hazard in the workplace. It is
    important to pay attention to anything the company or a supervisor puts up on the wall. If it
    was decided to spend the resources to develop the poster, then it is important for employees
    to review and understand the information it is communicating.


    Job Safety Analyses (JSAs)
    Job safety analyses are a proactive tool to prevent incidents, but they are also a method of
    communication. Much time and thought are spent on developing these tools. If the message
    that is being conveyed through JSAs is not being read or understood, then the tool does not
    serve any purpose. Often times JSAs can become repetitive for tasks done over and over, but
    time should always be given to read the message it is conveying. The message is often the same
    if you are completing the same task because, more often than not, it is the same hazards that
    cause the majority of injuries.


    Labels/Warnings
    There are labels on just about anything you see in a workplace. All too often, labels are not read
    over, or unreadable labels are not replaced. Manufacturers of equipment, tools, and chemicals
    put these labels on for a reason. Labels communicate some of the most important information
    about a product, including serious hazards, safeguards, and contact information in case of an
    emergency. Make it a point to review the labels in your work area not only to check to see if
    they are in good condition but also to understand the message it is stating. If you see a label or
    symbol you do not understand, look in the owner’s manual or ask a supervisor for its meaning.
    There are many reasons or excuses an individual will point to when asked why they are not
    performing a work task the right way. Some of these reasons include:


    o “There is not enough time to do the task the right way”
    o “Management does not enforce the rules or has unrealistic expectations”
    o “I have done it this way for years and nothing bad has ever happened”
    o “I do not have the energy to do the task the way you want it done”

    Regardless of the reason, taking the easy route when it comes to ensuring safe work practices
    and procedures are being followed leaves you and everyone else around you at risk.


    There are many reasons why we should do our best to do every single task the right way every
    time. The main reason we should do so is to keep both ourselves and our fellow coworkers safe
    from being injured on the job.  Another reason why we should do every task the right way is
    because working safely is good business.


    Keeping people healthy on the job is not only good for the individual workers, but it also helps a
    business thrive by avoiding unnecessary costs resulting from injuries. When the business does
    well, everyone benefits in some way.

    Today’s homes burn faster than ever. You may have as little as two minutes to safely
    escape a home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Your ability to get out of a
    home during a fire depends on early warning from smoke alarms and advance planning.


    Since 1922, the NFPA has sponsored the public observance of Fire Prevention Week.
    In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed Fire Prevention Week a national
    observance, making it the longest-running public health observance in our country.
    During Fire Prevention Week, children, adults, and teachers learn how to stay safe in
    case of a fire. Firefighters provide lifesaving public education in an effort to drastically
    decrease casualties caused by fires.


    Fire Prevention Week is observed each year during the week of October 9th in
    commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began on October 8, 1871, and
    caused devastating damage. This horrific incident killed more than 250 people, left
    100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned more than
    2,000 acres of land.


    In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy.
    Fire safety education isn’t just for school children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are
    also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take
    some time every October during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand
    how to stay safe in case of a fire.


    Remember the acronym PASS:
    Pull the pin.
    Aim low at the base of the fire.
    Squeeze the handle slowly.
    Sweep the nozzle side to side.


    Not all fire extinguishers will work on every fire. For home use, the NFPA recommends a
    multi-purpose device large enough to put out a small fire but not so heavy that it will be
    difficult to handle. Review the instructions once a year.

    Be Prepared With a Plan

    Unfortunately, many organizations feel ill-equipped to prevent a workplace violence
    event. All too often, the incentive for implementing a prevention plan comes in
    response to tragedy.


    OSHA believes a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program,
    combined with hazard controls and employee training, can reduce the incidence of
    workplace violence.


    Profile of an Active Shooter


    An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people
    in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and
    there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.


    Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly Typically, the immediate
    deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to
    victims.


    Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law
    enforcement arrive on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and
    physically to deal with an active shooter situation.


    Responding to an active shooter situation


    Active shooters can appear in easily accessed public spaces or in workplaces – both
    private and public-facing. No matter where you are, remain as calm as possible and
    remember:

    o Be aware of any possible danger in your environment
    o Identify the two nearest exits
    o If you can flee, do so immediately – leave belongings behind
    o If you cannot flee, find a potential hiding place with cover (that will stop a bullet)
    and concealment (the assailant cannot see you there)
    o If you are behind a door, lock, or block entry to it
    o Silence electronic devices
    o If able, turn off all lights and cover windows. As a last resort, try to incapacitate
    the shooter – keep moving and be distracting
    o In close range situations, fighting increases your chance of survival – work with
    others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons (e.g., fire extinguishers,
    books, chairs, etc.)
    o Know your emergency notification methods and numbers
    o Call or text 911 as soon as you can do so safely

    How to respond when law enforcement arrives


    Law enforcement will usually be required to end the situation. Comply with law
    enforcement and allow them to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.


    There are several ways you can assist:


    o To the best of your ability, be prepared to provide 911 and law enforcement with
    your location, the number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), the
    number and type of weapons used by the shooter(s) and the number of potential
    victims

    o When law enforcement arrives, remain calm and follow all instructions – in the
    absence of other instructions keep your hands raised, visible and free of any
    objects

    o Don’t scream or yell

    o Evacuate the area quickly – do not stop law enforcement to ask questions or for
    help

    Facing an active shooter can be unimaginable, but being prepared might save your life.
    Remember to stay alert and as calm as possible. Try to run first, hide if you cannot flee
    safely and fight only when you have no other choice.


    Training for an active shooter situation


    Every organization needs to address workplace violence. Managers and safety
    professionals at every workplace should develop a policy on violence that includes:


    o Employee training and creating an emergency action plan

    o Conducting mock training exercises with local law enforcement

    o Adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence


    Training exercises will prepare staff to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life
    by:

    o Learning emergency escape procedures and route assignments, (i.e., floor plans,
    safe areas)

    o Receiving contact information for, and responsibilities of individuals to be
    contacted during an active shooter incident

    o Receiving information concerning local area hospitals (i.e., name, telephone
    number, and distance from your location)

    o Understanding the emergency notification system to alert various parties of an
    emergency including:
    o Individuals at remote locations within premises
    o Local law enforcement
    o Local area hospitals

    o Recognizing the sound of gunshots

    o Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard and/or when a shooting is witnessed:
    o Evacuating the area
    o Hiding out
    o Acting against the shooter as a last resort


    o Calling 911

    o Reacting when law enforcement arrives

    o Adopting the survival mind set during times of crisis


    Preparing for the worst can be difficult. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a
    situation with an active shooter – they can be unpredictable and unfold quickly. Because
    an active shooter behaves erratically, they have no pattern and their victims are random
    – being prepared can be your best defense.

    In 2020, a mission-driven group of volunteers from across the construction industry came
    together with the goal of saving lives. They collaborated to launch the inaugural Suicide
    Prevention Week for the industry — a week dedicated to raising awareness about the higher-
    than-average number of suicides in the construction industry, and to providing resources to
    help prevent those deaths.


    During Construction Suicide Prevention Week, organizations, like you, have the opportunity to
    participate in this important movement as we all join an effort to get life-changing information
    to the people who need it, lift the stigma surrounding mental health conversations, and come
    together as a community to save lives.


    Suicide is a leading cause of death among working age adults in the United States. It deeply
    impacts workers, families, and communities. In the U.S. there are approximately 123 suicides
    per day which means there is one death every 12 minutes.


    The construction industry has the second highest rate of suicide in the United States at 53.3 per
    100,000 workers according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Fortunately, like other
    workplace fatalities, suicides can be prevented.


    A major roadblock to addressing the issue of suicide in the construction industry is the stigma
    associated with the concepts of depression, mental health challenges, and seeking help. This
    stigma makes it incredibly difficult for those who may be considering suicide to get the help
    they need.


    Use the resources provided, on our website, to plan activities with your workers during
    Construction Suicide Prevention Week.


    Here are some specific ideas of ways your organization can participate:


    o Share Who to Call in a Crisis, which is a list of organizations and phone numbers that
    anyone can call when they need help. Many people may not know who they can turn to
    when they need help and this simple act can put that information in front of those who
    need it.


    o Host one or more toolbox talks on topics like construction suicide dangers, reducing
    stigma, recognizing warning signs, how to listen, and how to seek help.


    o Post your efforts on social media. By sharing how your organization is promoting this
    campaign you are proactively working to stamp out the stigma around mental health
    and can prevent deaths by suicide.


    o Hand out, or hang up, the fact sheets to let workers know all the options.
    When developing and improving workplace safety programs, it’s important to remember that
    addressing mental health issues can be as important as preventing physical health hazards on
    the job.

    Safety awareness is the habit of thinking about the chance that someone can get hurt before a
    task is started. Having policies and procedures is not enough. You need to make sure that
    everyone is aware of them and that they think about safety in everything they do. Safety
    awareness is making safety a priority in your workplace.


    Ideas to Build Safety Awareness


    o Entry Ways


    What does it look like when you walk into your workplace, as an employee or a
    customer?  What are the first things you see?  Is it related to production, quality, or
    safety?


    First impressions matter. They are sending the message of what is important at that
    facility.  Safety, quality, and productivity are all equal, so each should have equal
    representation when walking in.


    This could be a safety mission statement, current goals, or even a safety message. 
    Whatever it is, there should be something and it should be the same size or quantity as
    the other business priorities.


    o Posters/Banners


    This is a given. When you say safety awareness, most people think of posters. 
    Definitely, don’t discount them.  They are a must-have.


    To make your safety posters most effective, only hang posters that are relevant to your
    operations, or to your employees, and change them frequently; weekly or monthly at a
    minimum.  If you have multiple poster locations, you can move the posters around.


    Changing the posters, or the locations, increases attention to the material.  Our brains
    like new things and the changeup will catch our attention.


    o Clear Markings and Signage


    All those yellow lines marking off walkways, storage areas, or aisles need to be visible
    and not worn away. All the warning plaques need to be legible. All signage needs to be
    in good condition.


    Many times, we put this signage up with great intentions, but then they are never
    replaced when needed.  Just normal wear and tear, exposure to the elements, will wear
    them out.  They should be on a regular inspection/replacement schedule.

    Poorly maintained safety signage sends the message that you don’t care.  It is the little
    things like this that matter the most when building safety awareness.


    o Talking Safety


    Safety should be discussed daily by the work team. This could be in the form of a pre-
    shift meeting or a daily toolbox talk. There are many ways to talk about safety
    throughout the day.  The key is that the safety talk has to come from members of
    management other than the safety manager.


    Employees follow their direct supervisors and managers more than the “safety guy.” 
    This is why the safety message must come from them.


    A great way to do this is by starting or ending every production-related conversation
    with safety.  Let’s say your supervisor needs to tell an employee to use the forklift to
    move a pallet.  During that conversation, they can throw in a specific reminder to
    operate the forklift safely; such as – keep your load low to the ground when traveling. 
    Super easy and works amazingly well to build safety awareness.


    o Surveys


    Don’t be afraid to ask your staff about their impression of your safety program, policies,
    or procedures. This feedback is valuable in many ways. It tells you what is working and
    what isn’t working and it sends the message that you care about them and their
    opinion.


    Setting up an employee survey can be done with a paper questionnaire, using
    computerized surveys (like Survey Monkey), or face-to-face with the answers recorded
    by another person.  The choices are limitless.


    If it is easy for the employees to do, they are more likely to do it.


    o Employee Involvement


    Include employees in every aspect of your safety program; from development to
    implementation, to review. Understand that including them in the process goes a long
    way in building safety awareness.


    o Proactive Safety Goals


    Most safety goals are reactive, based on the number of incidents. Proactive goals focus
    more on safety behaviors and stopping the causes of incidents.  When you get your staff
    focused on a specific safety goal, such as improving housekeeping in an area, you are
    building safety awareness.


    o PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)

    This should always be the last thing to consider. You might also be thinking the PPE is a
    policy thing and not an awareness thing.  However, when walking into a facility where the use of PPE is prevalent, the level of safety awareness at that facility is usually above
    average.


    The act of having to put on safety gear prior to doing the task or walking into an area
    heightens the level of safety. 


    8 Expert Situational Awareness Safety Tips for the Workplace


    o Adopt a structured situational awareness framework


    Everyone has a slightly different approach to staying aware, with unique ways of
    collecting and processing information. But in the workplace, you need your entire team
    to operate in agreement. A company’s situational intelligence depends on the ability to
    understand, detect, and mitigate risks in a consistent fashion.


    Evaluate what will be a better fit for your organization’s needs, and incorporate it
    into situational awareness training so your employees have practice with the method.


    o Stay focused


    Life is full of distractions. Most of us have long to-do lists, notifications beeping all day
    long, and the constant stimuli of people interacting with us. Distractions might seem
    like a minor annoyance, but they can be a significant hazard in the workplace. If you
    make a mistake working on a spreadsheet because you’re multitasking, it could have
    serious consequences for business operations. Ideally, you recognize the mistake in time
    to reload the file. However, power tools and heavy equipment don’t have an undo
    button.


    o Here are a few ways to promote focus in the workplace:

    o Limit electronic device usage

    o Discourage multitasking

    o Manage disruptions

    o Watch for fatigue


    How many times have you started the day more tired than usual, compensating with an
    extra cup of coffee? It might seem harmless, but fatigue is a serious hazard that can
    cause slower reaction times, impaired judgment, and difficulty concentrating.


    Even if workers are getting 7 or more hours of sleep per night, other environmental
    factors can have an impact. Stress, heat, and overexertion—both physical and
    mental—can all lead to fatigue. At best, fatigue can lead to near misses that wake you
    right up. At worst, it can cause accidents involving physical and/or financial damages.


    Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for someone to assess their own level of fatigue.
    Train your team to recognize the signs in their coworkers and know when someone isn’t
    fit to be working. Additionally, it’s important to frame the process as safety-oriented, rather than disciplinary. No one wants to get their friend in trouble, but they wouldn’t hesitate to protect their friends from getting hurt.


    o Be vigilant


    One of the primary components of risk awareness is identifying subtle hazards. Spotting
    and managing the little things can be the key to preventing a disaster.


    No one is more familiar with your workplace than your employees. They know the
    space, their coworkers’ tendencies and body language, and the nuances of what’s going
    on around them. They will be more easily able to spot when something is wrong.
    Empower your frontline workers to share their gut feelings and speak up when
    something seems off. It’s better to investigate a potential risk and discover it was
    nothing than to ignore it and let it grow into a serious hazard.


    o Encourage clear and thorough communication


    When you do the same task day after day, it can be easy to get complacent. You may
    assume your coworkers know what’s going on, confident that they’re aware of the same
    safety hazards and risks as you are.


    Well, you know what they say about assumptions. Teach your employees to
    communicate clearly and thoroughly, no matter how routine things might seem.
    Verbally calling out hazards makes sure everyone is cognizant of the situation, taking it
    seriously, and working to keep each other safe.


    Use visual and auditory signaling devices in loud and fast-paced environments, the
    details of conversations or instructions can get lost. Complement verbal communication
    with visual and auditory signaling, especially when it highlights a potential hazard.


    Some common examples of signals that promote situational awareness:
    o Flashing lights on heavy machinery when it’s in operation
    o Clear, loud beeping when vehicles such as trucks or forklifts are backing up
    o Alarms when doors aren’t securely closed
    o Brightly colored barriers, cones, or fences around non-obvious hazards like oil
    slicks, ice, or chemical spills

    o Have an exit strategy


    Per OSHA requirements, every worksite has clear directions to emergency exits. And
    your company probably runs fire drills to ensure everyone knows how to safely get out
    of the building.


    However, an exit strategy is more than simply identifying a door or path to safety. In
    many cases, it’s having a plan of action if something goes wrong. For example, if you’re
    operating heavy equipment and it malfunctions, what steps do you take to protect yourself and your coworkers? How do you shut it down and alert the right contacts? And how do you exit the area if necessary?


    Situational awareness focuses on detecting and understanding potential hazards. Not
    every problem can be avoided, though, and you always need an exit strategy. Risk
    intelligence bridges this gap. It comprises a continuous stream of planning from
    situational awareness and hazard prevention to evaluating realistic outcomes and
    responding to environmental dangers.


    o Practice and reinforce situational awareness


    Most importantly, you need to reinforce situational awareness safety tips until they
    become second nature. It’s easy to make the right decision when you’re sitting in a
    peaceful environment, discussing your options. But when faced with a rapidly evolving
    threat, your employees need to be able to act on instinct to protect their personal
    safety.


    Make situational awareness a monthly safety topic, both as a focused item and as a
    complement to other relevant discussions. Perform periodic situational awareness
    training and use tabletop exercises to help employees practice their skills. Provide
    thorough feedback throughout the process, promoting a vigilant and proactive safety
    culture in the workplace.


    6 Ways to Promote Workplace Safety Awareness


    o Have Markings and Signage


    Clear markings and signage on equipment, walkways, storage areas, and more are
    among the most important tactics for promoting safety awareness. For example, signs
    can be used to instruct employees on how to use equipment properly. Additionally,
    floor and wall markings can show employees where certain items or equipment should
    be stored. Clear markings and signage are a subconscious reminder to employees of
    safety protocol and expectations.


    o Create Posters that Display Safety Policies


    Posters and banners are probably one of the first things you think about when it comes
    to promoting safety awareness. Posters can be a great way to remind employees of
    important safety protocols. You should only put up posters relevant to your operations
    and employees. To increase employee attention to posters, try moving them or
    changing them every week or so.


    o Have Regular Safety Talks


    Safety should be a part of regular discussions in the workplace. Safety discussions are an
    important way to set clear expectations for safety. There are many ways to do this, from
    having a daily pre-shift safety meeting to doing quarterly safety presentations. Find
    something that fits your company’s industry and work.

    o Provide Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regularly


    Having to put on safety gear before performing a task heightens the level and
    awareness of safety in the workplace. Providing the appropriate PPE is also an effective
    way to improve compliance.


    o Involve Employees in the Development and Implementation of Safety Protocol


    Involving employees in the process of developing a safety program is a great way to
    increase safety awareness. They are the people on the front lines of the job, and they
    may be able to point out problem areas much easier than someone looking from the
    outside in. Employees are also more likely to follow safety regulations that they had
    some part in creating. 


    o Use Creative Tactics to Introduce Safety Measures


    Introducing safety protocols in a typical presentation style can get boring and repetitive
    for employers and employees. Create a safety scavenger hunt where employees are
    split up into teams and have to read clues to piece together a safety policy. Additionally,
    try hosting a workplace safety trivia session with prizes for the employees that answer
    questions correctly.


    Promoting safety awareness can be a very taxing and overwhelming activity, but it is
    crucial for maintaining and improving the safety of your workplace. Try one tip at a time
    to make it easier.

    Across industries, workers suffer injuries at staggering rates—from the repetitive movements,
    awkward postures and forceful exertions required to get their jobs done. These injuries are
    known as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). They are the largest category of workplace injuries
    in the United States, and they cost employers billions of dollars each year in workers’
    compensation, disability, absenteeism, and lost productivity.


    Many of these injuries emerge after days, weeks, months or even years of work-related activity.
    By the time an injury occurs, it’s almost certain a workplace has missed several warning signals
    and the opportunity to have prevented it in the first place. Workers themselves might not even
    be aware of the risk factors that are part of their routine tasks until they experience pain.
    Taking a comprehensive, proactive, and scientific approach to addressing MSDs could prevent
    these injuries from occurring—and that would provide relief to millions of workers and return
    billions of dollars to organizations’ bottom lines.


    That’s why employers across the country are taking action and committing themselves to
    specific strategies with the goal of reducing MSD risk and subsequent injuries by 25% by 2025.
    Together, we can take steps to reduce workplace risks and help workers lead healthier, fuller
    lives, free of pain. And, through innovation and sharing of lessons learned, we can create safer,
    more productive workplaces for everyone. Work doesn’t have to hurt, workers are engaged in
    safety solutions and businesses are even more productive.


    Lay a strong foundation for success by:


    o Building a workplace culture that values worker health and safety,
    o Mobilizing leadership within all levels of your organization; and,
    o Engaging workers directly to understand sources of risk and identify possible solutions.
    o Construct a comprehensive workplace MSD Solutions Program that:
    o Reduces risk through ergonomics,
    o Creates a medical management system for workers who experience MSD injuries; and,
    o Expands worker well-being initiatives that boost individual resilience.


    Safe work environments begin and end with company culture. Everyone has a role to play in
    creating a culture that prioritizes safety. Company leaders can set a clear vision aligning the
    importance of safety with business success. Managers can lead by example, build trust, and
    identify hazards. Frontline workers can be empowered to advocate for and use sound safety
    practices. Consider how you can implement worker training on personal and professional
    impacts of MSD injuries to mobilize your workforce. Once you have buy-in, you’ll need a
    champion or team to help create a participatory culture between workers, managers and
    leadership that reinforces health and safety.


    STEP 1


    Create a Culture that Values Worker Health & Safety


    o Identifying risks and hazards,
    o Designing innovative solutions,
    o Participating in safety protocols; and,
    o Engaging in a culture of continuous improvement, including routine monitoring and
    reporting MSD symptoms.
    o Routinely checking in with workers about ways to make the workplace safer,

    o Asking workers what additional support they might need to operate more safely,
    o Listening to worker feedback about safer work processes,
    o Recognizing employees for speaking up about safety hazards and possible solutions;
    o Including all workers, such as contractors, temporary workers, seasonal workers, and
    part-time workers as part of the mission, the message, and the metrics of safety.


    STEP 2


    Mobilize Leadership at All Levels Within Your Organization


    o Establish a company vision that centers on worker health, safety, and well-being,
    o Create supportive lines of communication with workers,
    o Train leaders and managers on key warning signs and hazards for MSD injuries,
    o Incentivize managers and leadership to routinely check in with workers and document
    injuries and hazards,
    o Invest resources into health and safety initiatives; and,
    o Enlist and empower health and safety teams to make decisions that benefit workers.


    STEP 3


    Engage Workers to Understand MSD Risks and Identify Possible Solutions


    o Empower your workers in identifying areas for improvement and developing and
    implementing your safety protocols and interventions.
    o Train managers to lead safety conversations with workers and create performance
    metrics to ensure managers deliver safety messages and actively listen to workers’
    needs.
    o Motivate workers and managers effectively by making participation in health and safety
    conversations—both reporting injuries and identifying solutions—part of performance
    reviews and incentives.


    STEP 4


    Reduce MSD Risks Through Ergonomics


    A crucial element of an MSD Solutions Program is the application of ergonomics. Ergonomics is
    the science for designing work systems that minimize injury while maximizing performance.
    Ergonomics considers the workers—their abilities, limitations, and characteristics—as well as
    the tasks, jobs, workstations, tools, equipment, and the work environment to design a system
    to preserve workers’ well-being and reduce illness and injuries, especially MSDs. Ergonomics is
    used to:


    o Identify and address existing MSD hazards and risks.
    o Build systems to prevent the introduction of new hazards and risks.


    Here are different examples of ergonomic postures:


    o Work at waist height,
    o Bend at the hips and knees, keeping the back straight,
    o Carry items close to the body and at waist height,
    o Keep computer screens directly straight ahead,
    o Keep tasks below shoulder height to avoid awkward and fatiguing postures; and,
    o Pick tools that allow for a full hand power grip.

    STEP 5


    Create a Medical Management System for Workers Who Experience MSD Injuries


    Efforts to address work-related injuries must go beyond prevention and consider the needs of
    workers who develop MSDs. If not properly managed, MSDs can progress to chronic disorders
    resulting in lifelong disability. Employers can prevent these outcomes and minimize business
    costs by implementing systems for early detection, coordinating with healthcare providers for
    diagnosis and treatment and establishing tailored return-to-work protocols with a medical
    management team.


    Promote Early Detection and Intervention


    Systems that promote early detection and accurate reporting make it easier for workers to
    access early treatment, which is often far less costly than advanced MSD injuries. Early
    detection also provides valuable insight into the underlying causes of injuries, which allows
    employers to intervene and take steps to prevent them. You can create a workplace culture
    that rewards early and accurate reporting.


    o Train workers to recognize early signs and symptoms of MSDs.
    o Train managers to build regular check-ins for MSD symptoms as part of their
    conversations with workers.
    o Establish systems for early reporting.
    o Assess causes of symptoms and create processes to intervene as appropriate.


    Establish a Safe Return-to-Work Protocol


    Employers should establish a coordinated return-to-work team that engages human resources,
    the healthcare provider, and the worker to:


    o Determine safe return-to-work protocols, including necessary leave time, work
    restrictions, transitional duty options and modifications of job tasks and workstations,
    o Create a flexible working arrangement for injured workers to continue rehabilitation
    sessions (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational therapy) while
    working; and,
    o Provide resources for mental well-being such as, employee assistance programs,
    coverage of counseling sessions to manage kinesiophobia and other psychosocial factors
    and navigating “life after injury”.


    STEP 6


    Promote Physical Well-Being


    Sleep, exercise, hydration, and nutrition promote muscle and bone health and strength which
    builds tolerance against musculoskeletal injury. Ideas to strengthen worker well-being include:


    o Team exercises
    o Strength and flexibility training
    o Wellness seminars
    o On-site nutritious snacks and hydration options
    o On-site fitness options
    o Company fitness challenges
    o Subsidized gym memberships


    Support Mental Health

    Workplace stress contributes to and is worsened by MSD injuries. Muscular tension and poor
    posture caused by stress and fatigue predispose workers to injury. On the flip side, in a
    psychologically supportive environment, workers feel safe speaking up about risks and injuries
    before they develop into problems. Promote mental well-being with tools appropriate
    for your workforce. Consider offering:


    o Flexible work policies
    o Mental wellness education and training seminars
    o Mental health days
    o Paid family leave policies
    o Team bonding activities
    o Protocols for communication outside working hours
    o Insurance coverage for mental health treatment, especially for workers coping with
    MSDs


    Help your employees live their fullest lives – on and off the clock.

    We usually measure our fitness by our physical health, but our mental health is just as
    important. Mental health distress and illness can negatively impact your safety and the safety
    of your co-workers. Though everyone experiences stress and trauma differently, there are
    common signs to watch for and proactive steps you can take to prioritize your mental health.


    According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly one-
    in-five American adults live with mental illness. More face stress and anxiety from
    unexpected crises, whether it’s a personal issue or a workplace incident. While mental
    health concerns can feel overwhelming and may not seem like a risk to you or your co-
    worker; however, they can pose serious dangers.


    According to the CDC, mental health concerns can impact your physical health. Depression,
    for example, increases the risks for diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In stressful
    situations, it can be tempting to ignore the cause of our anxieties and focus on something
    else, but that will only compound the problem. Understanding the risks of mental distress
    and facing the source of your stress is the first step toward successfully managing these
    issues.


    The signs of mental distress may not show up for weeks or months after a stressful situation
    or experience. Regardless of the timing, watch for common signs such as:


    o Feeling unmotivated, or physically or mentally drained

    o Feeling sad, lonely, numb, or worried

    o Changes in your appetite or sleep patterns

    o Increases in alcohol or drug use

    o Difficulty focusing or making decisions

    o Arguing more or becoming easily frustrated with family, friends, or co-workers


    Even if you don’t notice these signs, if you aren’t feeling like yourself, don’t ignore it. There
    are many myths and misconceptions about mental health, which can make it difficult to
    recognize the signs in yourself. It is not wrong to have these feelings, but if you are having
    them frequently, it is a sign you should seek additional help. In addition to looking for these
    signs in yourself, you can also watch and listen for signs in your co-workers, such as:


    Disclosure of exceptional stress or mental health conditions, such as depression or
    anxiety
    Failure to fulfill major life responsibilities, such as work, school, or financial
    obligations
    Withdrawal from important relationships


    Don’t pry or make assumptions, but it can be helpful to check in and listen with
    compassion.  Learn more about the common signs and causes of workplace stress and what
    you can do to help manage it. 

    There are resources available to help you. At work, you can talk to your supervisor or
    human resources about what’s causing your stress. Your workplace might offer an

    There are resources available to help you. At work, you can talk to your supervisor or human resources about what’s causing your stress. Your workplace might offer an employee assistance program (EAP) with access to counselors, financial planners, and other resources. Outside of work, you can talk with your doctor, a loved one or a trusted friend.


    Remember that there is no shame in asking for help or seeking counseling. No one needs to
    conquer a crisis alone; lean on others when you need help and provide assistance when
    others need it from you.  


    Once you understand the source of your stress, there are proactive steps to address it and
    reduce your anxiety. Focus on keeping yourself healthy by:

    o Getting at least seven hours of sleep each day to recharge both mentally and
    physically

    o Exercising regularly for 30 minutes a day, it could be as simple as a walk

    o Eating healthy food


    Separating work from your personal life, including taking time for activities you enjoy
    and using all your vacation days


    Stress won’t go away overnight, but each step can make a difference. While maintaining
    these healthy habits, you can make your body and mind more resilient, and better able to
    deal with stress. The more prepared you are to manage your stress, the more you can do to
    help keep you, co-workers and loved ones safe.