Hand injuries from hazardous conditions and unsafe behaviors are common to a variety of work tasks and environments. Not many hand injuries are serious, but they may certainly make it difficult to do needed work and other activities. Safety training is essential to help employees think and behave safely on the job. In the time between safety training sessions, a lot can be forgotten. One way to keep employees focused on safety is with simple, short daily safety messages.
Why Use Daily Hand Safety Messages?
Some employees come to a new job with more safety or survival sense than other employees. Regardless of past work experiences, a person coming into a new job needs to be taught your safe way of doing things. Equally important is that all employees need to be reminded from time to time, the safe way of doing things. The long term objective of safety training is to help employees learn and implement safety on the job. Safety meetings and safety training can help ingrain the safety behavior needed for the job. Adding daily safety messages to your safety training can help bridge the time between in-depth training meetings and help employees retain what they’ve learned.
Benefits of Daily Safety Messages
- Reinforce the safe behavior needed to do the job safely.
- Supplement safety training and safety meeting information, helping to drive home safe behavior home.
- Provide an opportunity for continuous safety review.
- Create greater safety awareness through specific, focused safety reminders.
- Provide focus on loss prevention areas of concern.
- Allow opportunities to give information and follow-up on new safety rules and regulations.
Approaches to Daily Safety Messages Content
You might ask, “What can I possibly talk about each day? My employees will get bored. Do I have time to even try to come up with a new topic every day?” Whatever the concern, there are various approaches to providing daily safety messages. These include:
- The Holistic Approach: The holistic approach teaches safety in all areas, not just the job task. In this approach, anything on safety, safe behavior, or a safe way of doing things, can be the daily safety message. For example, a supervisor may one day remind the crewmembers to watch where they put their hands. Another time a supervisor may say “You should never use you thumb test for sharpness.”
- The Task-Oriented Approach: This approach helps workers to concentrate on job activity. This approach is widely used and has the merit of helping the employee follow procedures exactly. This approach is good for complex processes and often is found in the way of procedure sheets that are checked off as the process is carried out.
- The Topic Approach: Yet another approach is to concentrate on a specific message over a period of days. This allows the trainer to give brief safety messages on a topic that otherwise would tie workers up away from production time. Instead of giving a detailed message that may be forgotten in a few days, a brief daily safety message can help in retention of the training.
Coming Up with a List of Daily Safety Messages
Coming up with a list does not have to be difficult. Resources are found all around you. Some of these resources include:
- Use of the accident loss report – Find out what kinds of accidents are happening, how they are happening, what body parts are being injured, what preventative measures can be taken, etc. Then prepare a list of safety messages that can be given to help prevent the injuries that you have been experiencing.
- Use of prior safety bulletins – What topics have helped create new procedures, safety messages, and bulletins? Make a list of these topics.
- Use of worker experience – Invite workers who are intimately experienced with their tasks and work environment to come up with lists of safety items, safety concerns, and necessary discussion topics. Review these items and prepare a list.
- Use of supervisor experience – Invite supervisors to come up with their lists of safety favorites, safety concerns and “should dos.” Develop a master list for all to use.
- Use of procedures – Review procedures, list where errors have occurred, and steps on which to improve. These topics can go a long way to better production and better safety.
Length of Time for Daily Safety Messages
The length of time to allot for the presentation of daily safety messages varies according to budget allowances, time limitations, goals of the safety program, etc. A daily safety message may be as brief as a one-line safety reminder, or last a couple of minutes. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind you are trying to reinforce safe behavior and keep safety in the minds of employees.
When to Have Daily Safety Messages
A good time to have safety messages is at the beginning of each shift. Whether you give the safety message at the beginning of the shift or at some other time, it is important to give the safety message while the workers are away from their regular tasks. Give them an opportunity just to think about safety.
Ways to Present Daily Safety Messages
Ways to give the daily safety message can be as varied as your creativity. Talking to the crewmembers in-person works well. However, you may not be able to get everyone together for a presentation. Some other methods for giving a daily safety message include:
- Email a daily safety message to supervisors to pass onto their crews.
- Give a list of safety messages to supervisors and let them give a message each day.
- Post safety meeting messages by time clocks.
- Have dispatchers give a daily safety message to each driver.
- Attach a safety message to drivers’ trip folders.
- Present the safety message over the PA system.
- Use a calendar with a different safety message posted each day.
- Hand out a list of safety messages that employees can sign off on as they read.
A Sample Daily Hand Safety Message List
- Don’t test for sharpness with your fingers or thumb.
- Paper, plastic, and cardboard can cut too.
- Don’t draw the box cutter toward your body.
- Where is your other hand when you are cutting?
- Are the appropriate guards on the equipment when you’re cutting, sawing, or using equipment with moving parts?
- Working with hot equipment or hot materials? If so, wear thermal resistant gloves.
- Never, unless in an emergency, interrupt anyone doing any hazardous task such as using a radial saw, a bench grinder, a cutting torch, tightening a load strap, etc. Wait until the task is finished.
- When cutting, slicing, etc., wear cut-resistant gloves and wrist/forearm protective safety gauntlets and sleeves.
- Remember that some cartons have staples that can puncture, slice, and tear.
- Don’t use your hands to test for heat.
- Wear chemical-resistant gloves when using harsh or hazardous cleaning chemicals.
- Wear the right gloves for the job.
- Wear the right gloves for the chemicals being used.
- Got a sliver? Get it out immediately. If necessary, treat the wound to prevent infection.
- Be aware of possible slivers, staples, nails, etc., when working with wooden crates, boxes, and pallets.
- Where are both of your hands when you are closing sliding display windows, cabinet doors, cupboard doors, drawers, exit doors, automobile doors, truck doors, etc.?
- Never stick your hands, fingers and thumbs into equipment that has moving parts until the equipment has been properly shut off and de-energized.
- Do not adjust energized equipment. Shut it off and release any stored up or latent energy.
- Will that finger ring get caught on anything that you handle or do? If so, take it off. Put it on your key ring. Bracelets and wristwatches can be dangerous, too.
- Some dollies have metal bars and rods with sharp ends. .
- Watch where your hands and fingers are when you set something down; move it or set it on a shelf.
- Helping someone to carry or move something? Watch out for hands and communicate if you see a hand hazard such as a door jam (frame). Watch out for the other person’s hands and fingers when you set the object down or shove it into place.
- Broken glass should never be picked or brushed with your hands.
- Binding wires or straps slice, cut, puncture and rip.
- Pulleys and sprockets can rip out fingers, crush hands, etc.
- Never reach into a mixing machine while it is in operation.
- Be aware of shape edges.
- Where are both of your hands when you are welding?
- Don’t run your fingers along freshly cut metal.
- Grind off sharp edges.
- Holding onto a cable? It may have broken strands.
- Holding onto or pulling on a rope? Rope can burn.
- Screwdrivers can slip and cut or puncture the hand.
- Watch for knuckle busters when working with wrenches.
- Read the labels on chemical containers for hazards.
- Fingers and hands can get caught in bench grinders. Keep guards in place.
- Table saws need safety guards in place.
- Attend to slivers and cuts immediately before infection sets in.
- Can your fingers or hands get caught in or on something when you release it or let go?
- Where are the other person’s hands and fingers?
- Can your gloves get caught on rough wood, in moving equipment, etc.?
- When you move, raise, lift, or push something aside, can it snap back on your fingers?
- If you lift something heavy, will you be above to set it back down without smashing your fingers?
- When you toss a pallet on the stack will hit catch on your gloves or your ring?
- When someone says, “Just hold it in place. I won’t hit you,” you’ll probably get hit.
- Cleaning up metal filings? Use a broom and dustpan.
- Screwdrivers can slip and puncture, slash, and rip.
- Don’t scrape surfaces clean with your hands and/or finger nails.
- Use care with staplers and nail guns.
- Lift and carry filled trash bags properly. Don’t just pick them up and carry them in your hands, they might contain sharp objects.
- Don’t blow dirt and dust off with air hoses. You can inject dirt and dust into your skin.
- Watch your hands when using a cutting torch. Don’t bring it across your fingers or hands.
- Using a spray paint gun? Don’t spray yourself with it. Paint and paint cleaner injected into your hand may only look like a pin prick, but can cause the loss of the hand.
- Doing a lot of cutting with a knife or a box cutter. Use cut-resistant gloves.
- Cutting bands on pallets? Sharp band ends can cut and slash.
- Don’t line up hydraulic piston coupling locking pin holes with your fingers.
- Something gets caught in the rollers or moving equipment? Let go of it. Don’t try to pull it out.
- Don’t get caught in the gears while tightening up chains or straps on a load.
- Be careful when getting out of cabs on mobile equipment. Do it right. Don’t jump and leave a finger behind.
- Do not close doors, tool boxes, vehicle hood latches, etc. with your fingers in the way.
- When someone says, “Don’t worry, I won’t hit you," worry! Do not hold the object with your hand.
- Use an approved safety box cutter, not your knife, or a screwdriver.
- Don’t tie up or block skill saw blades.
- Be aware of vibrations of skill saws as they can cause numbness.
- Never get your hands near rollers on conveyor belts. You may lose more than just your hands.
- Use cut-resistant gloves when needed.
- Use proper wrist posture - unbent when at the computer keyboard.
- Look out for pinch points.
- Tires may have wires sticking out.
- When you are removing sprockets, pins, etc., will your hands get in the way?
- Be aware of new welds, or newly-welded metal. There may be rough welds, or sharp edges.
- Using a grease gun? Don’t get it near moving parts. De-energize or use extended grease nipples.
- When checking the battery or cleaning the cable connectors, watch out for touching the connectors to the wrong terminal, or touching the wrench to the wrong stuff!
- Don’t take chances with your hands.
- Don’t take chances with someone else’s hands.
- Wild or unknown animals may bite.
- Poisonous spiders may lurk in places you want or need to place your hands!
- Nesting ducks may bite!
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NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.