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Safety First: New Initiatives in Workplace Safety

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced an initiative to invite businesses and workers to share their best practices on workplace safety and health. This initiative takes the form of a "Safety as a Core Workplace Value" listening session, planned to be held on June 14, 2023, both in-person and online. The session aims to gather public input to help reduce workplace injuries and fatalities, with a focus on increasing worker participation in safety and health programs. Among the topics of interest are: connecting safety and health programs with a positive workplace culture; understanding how employers include safety in a strong organizational culture; identifying barriers and challenges to improving safety and health in the workplace; and learning how organizations succeed in promoting a culture of workplace safety​​.

In conjunction with this, June is recognized as National Safety Month by the National Safety Council (NSC). This tradition has been ongoing since 1996 to bring extra attention to safety issues from the workplace to anyplace. The latest available data from the NSC reveal that there were more than 4,400 preventable workplace deaths and 4.26 million injuries in 2021. To tackle these issues, each week of the National Safety Month is dedicated to a different safety concern, with the themes this year being Emergency Preparedness, Slips, Trips and Falls, Heat-Related Illness, and Hazard Recognition. The NSC will be releasing additional resources on workplace safety throughout the month​.

Finally, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have jointly updated the Small Business Safety and Health Handbook. The handbook, which outlines steps that employers should take and resources to help implement safety programs, now includes checklists for emerging safety and health topics such as infection control, ergonomics, workplace violence, and young workers. In 2022, a heat-related illness prevention checklist was added to the handbook. This guide can serve as a starting point for small businesses to establish a safety program or as a check-up for existing programs​.

These recent developments underscore the vital importance of workplace safety and the various strategies being deployed to enhance it. From inviting input from businesses and workers, to designating a whole month to safety awareness, to providing detailed handbooks for small businesses, the commitment to improving workplace safety is evident. These efforts not only aim to reduce injuries and fatalities but also to foster a culture of safety that is integral to every workplace.

CBIA. (June 7, 2023). National Small Business Safety Manual Updated. ​

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (June 6, 2023). US Department of Labor invites businesses, workers to share best workplace safety, health practices.

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