Novelty socks, kitsch ceramic mugs, yet another new pair of slippers – most years, Father’s Day can end up feeling more like Groundhog Day. This year, however, we’d like you to put the cards aside for a moment and instead spare a thought for some of the dads who went off to work one morning and didn’t come home. It’s a sobering thought we know, but there is hope – especially when you consider how many things you can do to ensure that neither you, nor your colleagues, become another statistic…
There’s no getting around it – men suffer a disproportionate number of fatal and serious injuries in the workplace. In fact, according to RIDDOR, almost 96% of all employees who suffered a fatal injury in 2013/14 were men. While we don’t know how many of these men had children of their own, one thing is certain – every single one of them was somebody’s son. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a number of actions you can take to help make sure you and your loved ones needn’t suffer the misery and heartache of an accident that didn’t need to happen.
Share your stories
Most Dads have had their fair share of reading bedtime stories – come on, hands up who can do the best impression of a Gruffalo! Well, now it’s time to use those storytelling skills for work. Have you or one of your employees recently suffered a ‘near-miss’? Do you have firsthand experience of a life-changing accident? We can’t emphasise enough the value of sharing your stories as a way of bringing to life training, presentations, inductions – or any other area where your victim, sorry colleague, is in danger of dozing off. Stories are an excellent way of making abstract ideas painfully relevant, and can have a huge impact on worker engagement. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out our post on corporate storytelling for inspiration.
Reiterate the ‘obvious’
As a parent, one of your biggest jobs is to help arm your children with the knowledge they need to protect themselves from whatever life throws at them. As an employer, your job is no different. Remember, when it comes to workplace safety, there really is no such thing as ‘common sense’. After all, what might seem dazzling obvious to you might be completely new to someone else – particularly to young workers, who might not have the same level of professional or personal experience. Even those workers who’ve been doing the same job for decades could do with refreshing their knowledge regularly, so as not to become complacent. A good place to start is our ever-popular ABC of OSH post – you might be surprised by how much you’ve forgotten over the years!
Learn to relax
If you’re lucky, you might get a lie-in this Father’s Day, or even breakfast in bed! However, chilling out shouldn’t be reserved for one day a year. In fact, stress and related illnesses are a major problem in workplaces, and are estimated to cost the UK economy a mind-boggling £26 billion pounds each year. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it’s vital that you tackle the threat of work related stress before it develops into something more serious.
Watch your back
There are certain things that most fathers take for granted. Having a kick about with their kids at the park, chasing them round the house and then carrying them up the stairs to bed at the end of the day are all staples of a happy childhood. A bad back injury can put an end to all of that though – sometimes permanently. According to the HSE, manual handling causes over a third of all workplace injuries, affecting over a million people – which is tragic when you consider manual handling techniques and training are so readily available. So, next time you need to lift something at work, why not try visualising lifting your child instead? It can provide a powerful reminder of exactly what’s at stake.
Bring safety home
Finally, while the focus of this blog is on workplace safety, that doesn’t mean that accidents stop at 5pm. While work related deaths have fallen to a record low in the UK, accidents outside of work continue to kill 14,000 and seriously injure 700,000 every single year. By encouraging your employees to bring home the skills and insight they learn at work and sharing them with their nearest and dearest, we can help to stop some of the misery and carnage that takes place in our homes and on our roads every single day… making things better for fathers, and families, everywhere!
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