Your hand safety presentation is a critical part of a complete safety training program. That’s a given. Healthy hands are central to just about any worker’s ability to do their job well. And hand injuries are not only painful, but expensive, both directly and indirectly. Hands are difficult to fix and heal because they are neuromuscularly complex and delicate. The reasons for keeping hands safe go on (and on, and on… but you knew that already).
And yet, hand injuries remain common in the workplace—too common. Partly because we use hands all the time, and partly because we become complacent about keeping them safe. So while you may feature a hand and finger safety presentation regularly in your safety training, your workers may not be fully absorbing your hand injury prevention messages.
One way to make sure they’re paying attention is to get them involved. They can’t be checking their phones or dozing in the back if they have to be part of the action. Further, worker involvement is at the foundation of a strong safety culture, as is teamwork. The following strategies will help boost both engagement and teamwork.
Everyone loves to win a prize! While safety itself should be enough of an incentive to get workers to follow protocols and embody safety training, it simply isn’t. So dangle the carrot. Offer small gift cards for workers who volunteer to give part or all of a hand safety presentation. Provide a short hand safety quiz at a presentation and give prizes to those who get a perfect score. Reward workers who engage at safety presentations or who provide helpful suggestions about how to improve the presentations.
Tap into Creativity
While your go-to presentation slides may be bright with nice graphics and even some humor, your aesthetic can’t be all things to all people all the time. So tap into your workers’ creativity. Run a contest for the best hand safety poster, skit, or song (oh, yes, safety songs are a thing). Have coworkers anonymously vote for the winner at your next presentation. And of course, offer a prize!
Make It Physical
Safety presentations can be quite a yawn, especially if workers come in with an “I’ve heard it all before” attitude. Shake them out of their stupor with some movement and hands-on protocol enactment. If you’re doing a hand tools safety presentation, get out some tools and get workers to inspect them to make sure they’re in good working order, and to act out proper cutting technique.
Open the Floor, and the Suggestion Box
Make the format of a presentation a Q-and-A, or use it as a time to address items in the workplace safety suggestion box (you do have a safety suggestion box, right?). This lets workers know you’re listening and gives you the opportunity to get specific information about how to improve safety training and protocols.
This short video emphasizes why listening to workers about safety is so important and effective:
Create a Team Competition
Ask teams of three or four coworkers to create their own presentation about hand safety. How would they teach people about preventing hand injuries in the workplace? Provide key topics they must include; for instance, how to avoid these common injuries:
- Lacerations or punctures
- Chemical burns
- Trips and falls
- Pinches and smashes
- Impacts or abrasions
This encourages ever-important teamwork and empowers workers by putting them in a leadership role. And hopefully they can have some fun with it, too!
A lot of safety training is based on hypotheticals. We take these precautions, follow these sometimes tedious-seeming protocols, because something bad could happen if we don’t. But when nothing bad ever happens, that’s when complacency can sneak in. People may develop a, “I’ve done this a thousand times, and nothing bad ever happened” attitude that may lead to them taking shortcuts or overlooking details.
One way to snap workers out of this lackadaisical attitude is to present stories of when things did go wrong. The closer to home these stories are, the more of an impact they will have. Tell stories from your own experiences, or ask workers to share stories they have seen or experienced.
OSHA states, “Worker participation is vital to the success of safety and health programs.” Your next hand safety presentation is an excellent place to encourage more worker engagement.