March is the time we start to think about spring. Either the weather is getting nicer, keeping us focused on even nicer days ahead, or the weather is still like winter and has us wishing for spring to hurry up and arrive. No matter the weather, with your mind elsewhere it can be hard to think of toolbox talk topics in March. Here are five topic ideas to get you started.
Daylight saving time
Daylight saving time (DST) in the spring contributes to a rise in injuries and fatalities. This includes motor vehicle accidents, workplace incidents or personal mishaps at home. An increase in heart attacks has even been noted the Monday after DST. Losing one hour in the day can cause fatigue, distraction, and slower reflexes and reaction time. Not to mention it’s bad for productivity. Here’s a useful collection of posters and a handout with tips for a smoother DST transition. These resources can directly help you with your toolbox talk message. DST also serves as a reminder in the safety world to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and check to see if fire extinguishers are still fully charged (or if they need to be replaced). Be sure to include all of these DST safety tips in your March toolbox talk.
It’s also a good time to think about safety off the job—with spring break coming, there will be a change on the roads, at some of the places you frequent during the workday and at home. With increased pedestrian and road traffic, ensure workers know the importance of LCR scans at every intersection. When drivers haven’t had a close call or incident in the recent past, they can become complacent, putting themselves and others at risk. This is especially true during spring break, which can cause excitement that leads to people overlooking the rules of the road (e.g., children may enter the roadway unexpectedly, drivers are more distracted than normal or in a rush to get somewhere). As for workers whose kids are off of school for a week, they may be more fatigued than normal, which can impact their risk of injury at work. A gentle reminder about spring break could be an excellent toolbox topic for employees in March.
National Careers Week (March 1–6, 2021)
National careers week is about empowering positive change through careers education. It’s not only about making someone fit into a new role, but it’s also about improving the skills that make them better in their existing role. Although some employers may frown at the thought of National Careers Week being a topic of discussion during a toolbox meeting, it’s important to explain that it’s about educating workers, not convincing them to jump ship. Being good at your job makes you happier in the workplace, which subsequently improves employee engagement, productivity and work-life balance. For the safety professional, SafeStart’s EHS Careers guide is a good resource to provide you with the steps required to advance in a current role as well as tips, tricks and learning opportunities that will help EHS professionals.
Ladder safety month
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons notes that 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries every year. For 2021, National Ladder Safety Month has five key themes (one per week):
- The first week is devoted to choosing the right ladder for the job.
- The second week is all about safety before the first step—inspections and set up techniques.
- The third week is about safety when climbing.
- The fourth week is about safety atop a ladder.
- The fifth week covers ladder safety misconceptions.
Use each theme as the basis for a toolbox talk and find additional insight and tips in our working at heights guide. Statistics will show that there can never be too much talk about the importance of ladder safety.
National Nutrition Month
March is National Nutrition Month. If your company doesn’t already have a corporate wellness program in place, this month could be used to inspire leaders to implement one. Discussing nutrition with workers is vital if fatigue in the workplace is a problem. Nutrition is also important to workers’ overall health and can be used as a preventive measure against various diseases. Certain foods also improve cognitive function and have a positive impact on workplace performance. Nutrition is an important workplace topic, and a toolbox talk in March is a great opportunity to remind employees what the company is doing to help them.
March into spring equipped with a host of educational toolbox talk topics for your employees. A few of these topics could be split into multiple talks (remember you want your talks to stay brief, 15-minutes max.) Have a safe month!