One of the best ways to market safety is by having a Safety Awareness Week. As a Safety Manager, it’s your job to sell safety to the employees and managers. So hone your inner salesperson and think, “How can I promote Safety?”
Let’s make it an event!
Why You Should Have a Safety Awareness Week
Events bring attention to a subject area. They improve compliance and understanding of safe work practices. When you make Safety a big event, you’re putting everyone’s attention on it.
Safety Awareness Weeks are different from the average daily or weekly training. And they send the message that safety is vital because the company is making an effort to put on this event.
Many companies host employee appreciation events or weeks. Or they have an employee cookout. The focus and goal of employee appreciation is to give back to the employees. A way to thank them for their hard work.
Safety awareness events are not your typical “Thank You.” They send the message that you appreciate them working safely. And that it’s essential to the company that they continue to do so. But, they also have the goal to improve safety after the event.
Why Do It for a Week and Not Just a Day?
You want your safety awareness event to be memorable. For it to stick out in your employee’s brain, it has to be different than the norm.
If you’re doing daily toolbox talks, weekly safety meetings, and monthly safety workshops, having a week-long event is something different. It’s more memorable.
Plus, your event activities can’t interrupt the general operations of the business. (widgets still need to be made). So you’re breaking up what you would do for a day-long event. Turning it into many small mini sessions. This will work better for the organization.
Plus, small events many times over a week increase the retention of your focus area.
Have a Clear Focus for Your Safety Awareness Week
At the end of your event, what do you want to achieve? That is the question you need to ask.
There are several goals you can focus your event on:
- General Safety and increase awareness of the high hazard areas for your company
- Launch of a new process or program
- Celebrating success and everything that was done to achieve it
- Focus on one area, such as a Fall Protection Week, Hand Safety Week, Stress Management Week…
- Wellness or Health
- Safety at Home
The wide variety of topics allow for having many Safety Awareness weeks per year. Especially if they’re showing a measurable benefit to the organization.
Create methods to measure the success of your safety awareness week.
When you’re picking your focus area for your event, gather all the current data on it so that you have a baseline. Data points could include observational data, injury reports, inspection results, or surveys.
Set a goal for your event to improve in specific areas. Such as:
- 20% improvement in compliance with related safe work practices.
- 10% reduction in absenteeism
- Launch of your program with 85% success
Having a safety awareness week is fun. But if you can’t show results, then it’s just another appreciation event. But, if you can measure the results, then you can create a return on the investment for the event.
Safety Awareness Weeks become another tool towards safety culture and compliance. Especially when you can show a measurable benefit to the company. And a return on the investment.
Planning Your Safety Awareness Week
You have selected your focus area. And you’ve gathered your baseline data to measure the results. Now, you can start planning your event.
Use a calendar format to visualize all the parts of your safety awareness week.
At the top of your calendar is the days of the week. On the right side, put the different types of activities you plan to have. Break these activities into broad categories.
- Announcements – emails, posters, messages about the activities
- Toolbox Talk – make your daily toolbox talks coincide with the focus of your safety awareness week.
- Demonstrations – My free guide, “5 Surprising Ways to Make Your Employees Crazy for Safety,” will give you some demonstration ideas.
- Games – make safety fun, add in a few safety themed games
- Promotional Items – people love an excellent SWAG bag
- Incentives and Prizes – what’s an event without prizes.
- Food – this always makes it feel like a party.
For each day of the week, fill in the boxes describing what you’ll do to promote your focus area for that day. Remember to keep all your activities related to your focus area as much as possible.
Focus Area: Launch of a New Safety Boot Program
- Announcements – posters and daily emails about crush injuries and slip and falls.
- Toolbox Talks – the different boots, high vs. low top, slip-resistant soles, how safety toes work
- Demonstrations – forklift running over boots withe meat bones in them, friction tests of shoes
- Games – quizzes, PPE Paper dolls, What’s wrong with the shoe?
- Incentives – scratch-off quiz cards, raffles for participation
Have a brainstorming session with your employees or management team. Generate ideas for games, incentives, prizes, or such.
End the Safety Awareness Week with a Bang
The last day of your safety awareness week should be a big one. Include your top leaders, get all the employees together, and do a review of what happened all week.
Give an unannounced award for the most participation or some other superlative.
This is a team-building moment. It may be the perfect time to create an employee signature banner. Or grab an instant camera and create a picture board of their commitment to work safely.
Developing a Budget for Your Safety Awareness Week
Now that you know everything you want to do for your event put some numbers to it.
How much will the SWAG bags cost?
What do you need to buy to set up the games?
Will you cater or cook yourself?
What dollar value will the prizes be?
Are you going to decorate?
Add it all up and include a 10-20% buffer to cover any unexpected overages. Then get approval for your budget.
When asking for approval, you should have the following ready:
- Your focus area for your safety awareness week,
- A measurable goal of the event,
- The total cost, and
- The estimated return on investment
When you present it to your management team this way, it changes what your safety awareness event is.
It’s no longer just a fun party. It’s a business decision with a clear benefit to the company.
Don’t Plan Your Safety Awareness Events Alone
Putting on a week-long event is a lot of work. All the activities are done at specific times to work within the operation schedule. There may be many shifts to consider. And you don’t want to leave out any of your remote workers.
Don’t ever try to pull it off by yourself. Create a small planning committee to help. Or delegate the activities of your event. Use your safety committee or management team.
Start planning your next Safety Awareness Week. But this time, make it focused on measurable results and a return on investment.
Now It’s Your Turn
I want to hear about your employee events. In the comments below, share how you put on a Safety Awareness Week. Include what games or demonstrations you have done. I would love to add them to my list.
Hi, I'm Brye (rhymes with sky)! I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience. Specializing in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture, I have trained and coached many safety managers, just like you, on how to effectively manage workplace safety in the real world. I would love to help you too.