Winter is the best time to regroup and focus on the year ahead. Soon enough, the road construction season will begin and most of the USA will then be in summertime construction mode at high-rises, bridges, trenches, and residential projects. Start planning NOW for that unsung safety professional in your life (or YOU) to get some well-deserved shoutouts. You’ll have to do it yourself! Of course, right? Here’s a list of 2019 safety-related events that you can use to make a safety splash to start the summer. Start planning now for maximum media coverage.
March 3-9, 2019: Women in Construction Week
This is an annual event founded by NAWIC, National Association of Women in Construction. It is a great time to highlight the women working in the trades at your organization that can go a long way to recruiting the next generation of workers. NAWIC chapters are all over the US, so there are likely events that occur annually in your area with the opportunity for more every year.
April 28, 2019: Worker’s Memorial Day
Mark this one in your calendar and set a recurring reminder, it is observed EACH YEAR on April 28. It is a day to remember those who have died on the job. It’s too late this year to book your state’s traveling worker’s memorial, so try for next year if that is something that interests you. If your company has experienced a fatality in the past, this is a time for remembrance. If you go this route, make sure to contact the family to ensure you have their approval for anything you do in their loved one’s name.
May 5-11, 2019: North American Occupational Health and Safety Week
Again, you may be too late to take part in some of the planned events for this week, like the kids’ coloring contest, but you can still do something. The ASSE’s NAOSH landing page has some great ideas and marketing material.
There are currently no events posted on the NAOSH Events page for the United States – you can easily submit your own through the site – even if it’s “just” a safety appreciation lunch, get credit for what you are doing. You are automatically entered to win some kind of mystery safety prize if you submit your own event – so get to it!
Don’t forget your fellow HS&E professionals on Occupational Safety & Health Professionals Day, it is always celebrated during the Wednesday of NAOSH week, this year is it May 8, 2019.
May 6-10, 2019: OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction
So, this one is for my construction friends. You would be remiss if you do not participate in the stand-down! Every jobsite has fall exposures, so make sure to follow OSHA’s directions for receiving a certificate of completion after you have your event. Again, it can be as simple as a tailgate meeting, safety lunch, or other focused time to discuss falls on your jobsite. If you do not directly work at a jobsite, encourage your clients to hold a stand-down, or offer to plan it for them and be the guest speaker.
OSHA’s landing page for the stand-down week has awesome resources, including updated posters.
As you prepare for any of the above events, get local media involved.
– Tweet local media, scoop your favorite anchor: send a tweet to every twitter account associated with local news channels. If you see profiles called “assignment desk” or “news desk,” that’s gold – those folks are looking for news to cover. Tell them you are hosting an event at your site related to Workers Memorial Day, NAOSH Week, or the Safety Stand-Down – this lends credibility and a national angle to your event. Do not be surprised if you end up with a camera crew at your site!
– Ask for a proclamation from the Mayor or Governor to be read at your event. If you do get this, mention it to the news folks that you scooped in the previous step.
– Write a press release about the event and send it to local newspapers. Better yet, condense the press release and find the newspaper contacts’ email addresses or twitter handles – it seems that this process has replaced the press release as we knew it!
– Write an article or blog post about the planning for your event, the actual event, and lessons learned from the event – get maximum mileage! The article should be easily adapted to your local news sites, your company newsletter, industry association newsletters, and your company’s website. If media covers your event, notify your IT people so they can link to the posts on the company website.
– Don’t forget to take pictures during the event. If you end up with media covering your event, take pictures when they take pictures! You can use the images to promote future events, or just keep the photos for future newsletter articles, blog posts, and website content.
A few years ago, I contacted my local Fox News channel to ask if they were planning to cover Workers Memorial Day. They responded saying that they planned to send a camera to a few events and also shoot the illumination of a local bridge in honor of the day. I responded by informing them of NAOSH Week and the OSHA Stand-Down, which they “favorited.” If I were actively working for a contractor at the moment, I would have offered my jobsite! Why not? Local media needs somewhere to go, why not your site? Invite them, it takes a minute and you can even do it from your smartphone.