Seize the Season of Safety

Seize the Season of Safety

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

My neighbor told me she and her dog have been watching a chipmunk-scurry from one neighbor’s bird feeder, across her yard, and into mine, where the chipmunk has taken-up residence in a tiny opening in my landscaping.

The chipmunk’s cheeks bulge with bird seed each trip across the yards.

The neighbor’s dog, along with my cat, are both entertained watching the chipmunk from their window perches, getting ready for winter survival. 

Regardless of your climate, fall brings about change, another season upon us. 

Whether the start of the school year, or the leaves turning from green-to-red-to-yellow, with shifting temperatures bringing on rain. . . or maybe you’re embracing the whole pumpkin-spice craze impacting pretty much every consumable!

You know there’s a shift underway. So what are you doing to prepare for or embrace the season?  

As safety professionals, we have an opportunity to leverage seasonal change for our employees and ourselves, professionally.  

What are your plans this fall?  

Perhaps consider launching some of these initiatives for your employees: 

  • Collaborate with another department to organize on-site flu-shots. Or, educate employees on the advantages of no-cost flu shot benefits through your employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Finally, it is always wise to provide training around cold, flu & transmissible illness prevention and the importance of handwashing.  
  • Organize a fall campaign around driver safety: sunrise/sunset changes, weather changes. And emphasize getting to and from work safely. Consider offering training on driver safety, distracted driving, and winter weather driving, as safety best-practices.
  • Educate on the importance of safety at home. Focus on carbon monoxide and flammable gases as we turn off air conditioning and begin home heating season. Share the dangers of idling a vehicle in a garage or poorly ventilated confined space. Have a company-wide prize draw for carbon monoxide and flammable gas detectors, for home use. Educate on the importance of seasonal furnace maintenance. 
  • Widely distribute this free active shooter response course. It’s G-rated and suitable for employees to take to their families, reminding all of us, including kids returning to school, the importance of situational awareness.  
  • If you live in a climate with winter snow and ice, consider a slip, trip and fall initiative focusing on winter hazards.   

How about you, safety professional? What seeds are you storing up for the season? How can you focus on a completing a goal or energizing yourself professionally?

Feel free to use any of these ‘seeds’!

  • Need to write or update some safety programs, yet remain un-inspired to read the OSHA regulations and start from scratch? No worries! Use these templates and customize them as you need. They’re free. 
  • Do you wonder how other environmental safety and health (EHS) professionals do it? How do they approach their work? What got them into occupational safety in the first place? Enjoy the Accidental Safety Pro podcast (or binge listen if you want). New episodes are added twice monthly.
  • Have you ever built a safety budget? I know, not many of us have. And it’s not because we don’t want to, it’s that safety pros are rarely supported with dedicated funding for occupational health or an actual safety budget to work from! Here’s a tool to help you build a safety budget.  It was built by other safety professionals and we’ve included most everything we can think of. Even if you don’t yet have a budget, use this free safety budget planner to show your leadership team all the safety and health related items they are already expensing. Maybe you will be able to offer lower-cost options or triage expenses to make an ask for something that needs priority attention. It can help you establish credibility by simplifying research on pricing, procurement, and key operational safety considerations.
  • Here are 10-Things I Wish I Knew when I started my safety career 20+ years ago. Maybe you’ll find it helpful if you’re just getting started, or affirming if you’ve been a safety professional for a while.  

Happy Fall to you all!