In July, off-the-job safety is more important than ever as more people are away from work and school in the summer. Our July toolbox talk topics post included an off-the-job section touching on firework safety, fire pit safety, DIY projects and swimming/water/boat safety. Our summer safety resources also provide a number of tips for off-the-job safety. But in case you prefer something more specific, the following two options can be used as a safety talk to ensure you and your extended work family remain safe this summer, and always.
International Self-Care Day
Self-care may seem like a passing trend but it’s something that most of us need more of. Self-care is defined as proactively considering and tending to your needs and maintaining your wellness. This is to say that self-care exists for our physical and mental well-being. For the same reason we need 24/7 safety skills, we also need to pay more attention to self-care: we often put the needs of our family and friends’ well-being above our own, ultimately forgoing doing things for ourselves.
July 24 will be observed as International Self-Care Day in 2023. It is important to communicate that self-care isn’t selfish—it’s necessary. And it’s not just a personal observance, it should be recognized corporately. It is an opportunity to educate workers about your EAP program and any corporate wellness initiatives put in place to aid in self-care activities like exercising, eating healthily, and managing stress. After all, wellness programs benefit more than just employees. This observance can help lower healthcare costs, downtime, retention and improve overall well-being.
Self-care doesn’t have to be a big production. Something as simple as a walk or quiet meditation/reflection can do a world of good and is considered self-care. It’s about recognizing that employees need to take time away from work, and away from states of mind that are often exacerbated by work stress, like rushing and frustration. Why not implement a self-care regime for those working July 24 and reward them with extra breaks, a group yoga session, or, if the budget allows, bring in a healthy snack or something to pamper your workers and make them feel good?
As the weather gets warmer, people often look to cool down by the water—whether it’s at a beach, by a pool, or by another body of water. According to the American Red Cross, 10 people die each day from unintentional drowning, and on average two of them are under the age of 14.
More than half of drownings happen in home pools. After pools, bathtubs are the second leading location where young children drown. However, children can drown in just a few inches of water—kiddie pools, buckets, water tables, creeks, wells, cisterns, septic tanks, decorative ponds, and toilets are also potential drowning sources at home.
Human factors can play a role in drowning. Rushing (especially on pool decks) can cause a slip, trip, or fall (STF) incident, which can lead to drowning, as STFs can lead to loss of consciousness in or near water. Complacency is another big factor in the location of drowning as people aren’t thinking about the risks. This list from the CDC is a great example of how complacency factors into the location of drowning:
- Infants under 1 year old—⅔ of all drownings occur in bathtubs.
- Children aged 1 to 4 most often drown in home swimming pools.
- Children 5 to 14—40% of drownings occur in natural water and about 30% occur in swimming pools.
- For people 15 years and older more than half of drownings occur in natural waters like lakes, rivers, or oceans. The number one reason people drown is because they aren’t wearing a life jacket.
In order to determine the level of supervision required, the Red Cross recommends evaluating the child’s level of water competency. This includes determining how well they can enter the pool safely, whether they can successfully perform survival floating, whether they have the ability to move and change direction in a pool, and if they can swim the distance of the pool without getting tired or stopping and being able to exit the pool safely without a ladder).
Some drowning prevention tips for adults and children (especially the supervision of children).
- Supervise children closely—this can only be done by abstaining from drug and alcohol use until after the children are no longer in your care. Follow the arm’s length rule for those who are not strong swimmers.
- Everyone needs to wear a life jacket on a boat, and life jackets are also suggested near natural water and pools for those who can’t swim or touch the bottom.
- Avoid distractions—since drowning can happen in the blink of an eye, it’s important to avoid known distractions like cell phones, books, gaming devices, and TVs, and also avoid leaving the area, even if it’s just for a second.
July 25 is World Drowning Prevention Day—meant to raise awareness about the effects of drowning and to educate people on ways to prevent it. Use this day as a marker to have a safety meeting or toolbox talk within your facility on this topic.
Off-the-job safety is important in July, but you need to talk about it on the job to ensure employees understand its importance. Any one of the resources listed can help you ease into those talks in the workplace, and some can even be printed and given to employees. The important thing is to plan what you’re going to talk about each week and let your employees know that their safety matters no matter where they are.