Safety Culture Corner: Create a Safety Campaign to Target Injuries

September 02, 2020

Several years ago, the Steele County Safety Committee realized the number of slip, trip and fall incidents were climbing, most notably, slips on ice. The committee sprang into action and committed to a campaign of employee awareness. At each monthly meeting, the members brainstormed and discussed ideas they could put into operation.

Going Beyond Posters

In addition to hanging the most MCIT recent Step Wisely slip, trip and fall awareness posters in high-visibility spots around county facilities, the committee used other strategies for their campaign.

Rick Kvien, Steele County recorder and past chair of the safety committee adds: “We sent out Friday safety e-mails to everyone in the county. A lot of the e-mails were already scripted by MCIT, which made our job easier. During adverse weather, we put caution signs on doors, stating it was icy and to take extra precautions.

“We also put reminders in the newsletter and let employees know that if they are comfortable—and only if they are comfortable—they can use shovels and grit by each building entrance. When weather changes quickly, maintenance can’t get to all the buildings at once.”

Focus on Specific Problems

During one meeting, the committee focused on the specific issue of employees falling on snow and ice in the parking lot. These incidents were investigated, and information brought back to the committee.

After digging deeper into these incidents, it was discovered that the contracted plowing company was arriving a bit later each time they came to clear the parking lot. Many employees were coming to work and parking in an unplowed lot.

After the facilities manager talked with the service provider, the lot was once again cleared before employees arrived, and the number of those specific incidents fell dramatically.

Today, slip, trip and fall incidents in Steele County have been reduced to a tiny fraction of what the county experienced before. The safety committee continues to utilize awareness materials and send out safety e-mails.

Safety Awareness Grows

An unexpected benefit of the committee signing each safety e-mail with their names, department and phone numbers is recognition. The majority of Steele County employees know who is on the committee, and given the representation from most of the county departments, know to whom they can talk about safety in their area.

Gina McGuire, Steele County assistant human resources director, notes: “It took a couple of years of promoting slip, trip and fall prevention before we started seeing a significant decline in claims, which proves that stick-to-itiveness is key to influencing change.”

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