WIth NAOSH Week approaching, many companies are kicking their NAOSH event planning into high gear. Whether you are part of a NAOSH Week planning committee or tackling it on your own, here are some quick tips for an effective (and low-cost) week of activities.
Promote NAOSH Week throughout your facility. The best way to get people excited about NAOSH Week is to build their anticipation by promoting the event. Be as inclusive as possible in your promotion—you may need to consider multiple types of promotion if you have employees who work offsite. There are a number of free resources you can use or you can create your own promotional materials.
If time permits, why not appeal to your employees’ inner kid and have them get arts-and-crafty? Have them research NAOSH Week to design posters or make a promotional video. Give them the vital information that pertains to the NAOSH Week activities at your facility. This is a great way to get the message out and it will also get your employees talking about the event and want to continue their involvement in the activities. If you have a budget for NAOSH Week you can use it to buy prizes to generate hype among workers. Let them know that there will be an element of fun and benefit to NAOSH Week and encourage them to be a part of it.
Start with an opening ceremony. Explain the overall purpose of NAOSH Week and emphasize how preventing injuries and illnesses is important not only in the workplace but at home and in the community as well. A flag-raising ceremony is one great option to celebrate the start of the week. The ceremony can detail your plans for NAOSH Week to employees. Consider using the opening ceremony to recognize individual and corporate safety achievements. You can also invite local dignitaries and ask the media to provide coverage.
A surefire way to get people excited about the opening ceremonies is by appealing to their stomachs. That’s right, one of the most successful ways to win over your employees is to offer food. Have upper management run the BBQ or serve behind a sundae bar—employees love being served by their managers and it’s a great way for the company to show their appreciation to their staff. Another fun idea is to bring in a food truck or if your budget does not allow for that, have a potluck. The important thing is to get employees excited about NAOSH Week and encourage their participation in the activities.
Provide training sessions for your employees. Because the focus of the week is on health and wellness, organize a training session for employees that will directly benefit their health and wellness (CPR, fire extinguisher training, compliance training or even an ergonomics course). Lunch and learns are a great way to hold the training and not take people away from work for any length of time. You could also invite a guest speaker (a local police officer, firefighter, EMS, etc.) to your session to speak about safety and share their own experiences.
If there are any troubles getting a budget to support NAOSH Week, this is a great way around it by using the budget set aside for training. If your budget for training is already committed, why not teach your employees about the importance of ergonomics in the workplace. Review workers posture, including standing and sitting, and teach proper lifting techniques. Part of the session could include leading them through some stretching exercises. Few people take stretch breaks regularly so encourage employees to take a ten-minute stretch break from the task in progress every few hours.
Make it fun. Everyone loves to win. Competition is a great way to keep things exciting and motivates people to participate. There are a lot of ways you can tie health and safety facts into game show-type activities (mirror them after game shows like Jeopardy, Family Feud, or Pyramid) or conduct a scavenger hunt or spot-the-hazard game. Other options include explaining the importance of personal protective equipment and having a PPE relay race or PPE fashion show.
The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the key motivator for participation, are the prizes that are awarded to the winners. Some companies get creative and provide grand prizes like a premium reserved parking space for the month, a free meal in the cafeteria, a gift card or a paid day off. If these types of prizes aren’t feasible in your workplace, carry on the element of fun and make the activities count for points. Each point could earn you a ball to throw at your boss in a dunk tank or another fun-spirited activity.
Get the family involved. People generally put their loved ones before themselves so why not appeal to what matters most to your employees? Have the children of the employees submit safety pictures, thirteen of which can be selected to make a safety calendar with a cover. Running a coloring contest will also spread the safety message to workers’ homes. Or have children make videos on what they love most about their parent(s) and why it’s important for them to come home from work every night.
The same impact can be brought to the whole community by having family members affected by workplace tragedy share their story. An awareness walk or fundraiser is a way to give back to those who have lost a loved one to a workplace fatality.
Whether you’re just starting to plan or you’ve been preparing for months, these 5 tips should help make your next NAOSH Week one to remember.