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As a safety professional trying to train your employees, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Between OSHA regulations, employer expectations, and regular safety refreshers, it’s hard to know what to cover.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources out there to help your team put together effective safety meetings. While you spend a lot of your attention on OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) offer a variety of resources to guide your team.
If you’re looking for ideas on safety and health topics to cover, here are a few CDC health topics to look into, broken into categories.
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Every seven seconds, a worker is injured on the job, which translates to 4.6 million injured workers every year. And while you and your workers may be familiar with the most common culprits (soreness, sprains, and cuts) there are many other work-related diseases and injuries that can afflict your team.
Take skin exposures, for example. Allergic and irritant dermatitis is the most common cause of occupational skin diseases, which account for 15-20% of all occupational diseases.
Or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 15% of which is attributable to occupation. Millions of workers in diverse industries are exposed to airborne irritants and must learn how to protect their respiratory system.
Even a seemingly mundane issue like absenteeism in the workplace has major consequences for your workplace productivity and morale.
Safety and prevention are the bread and butter of EHS professionals. The hard part is communicating the sheer variety of safety and prevention issues that your workers need to worry about.
A good topic for workplaces in any industry is the hierarchy of controls, which is designed to help control worker exposure to hazards and stop dangerous situations from occurring. The CDC also covers a few key topics within the hierarchy of controls, such as engineering controls and personal protective equipment.
Another good topic for most workplaces is distracted driving at work, which kills 3,699 people each year. Motor vehicle safety as a whole is an important refresher for the whole workforce, and if you have older workers, the CDC’s resources on older drivers at work are also helpful.
Finally, as an EHS professional, it can never hurt to educate your workers on hazards and exposures and what to do if someone is hurt. Fortunately, the CDC has resources on that front as well.
Indoor environmental quality is a useful topic for most workplaces since it can cover almost anything from hazardous chemicals in cleaning products to air quality at a construction site.
Another important health topic is tobacco in the workplace, since smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and that 30 people live with smoking-related illnesses for every one person who dies of them.
When it comes to your workforce, your safety responsibilities are never done. Fortunately, you can use CDC health topics as a starting point to kick off a larger conversation.
How you deliver that educational material is up to you. If you need more tips on leading effective safety meetings, check out this post on five-minute safety talks for a quick but effective guide to safety training, or this post on essential safety meeting topics for your next work huddle.
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