TRANSPORTATION MATTERS for IOWA

More than just a wall decoration - the 2016 Safety Calendar


CoverAt the end of the day, we all have the same goal: To make it home safely. At the Iowa Department of Transportation, safety is all around us. It is one of our core values and we ask every employee to put safety first in everything we do.

So how do we help employees talk about and live out safety every day? One way is the safety calendar, which is produced annually by the Office of Employee Services. The calendar is loaded with information on various safety and wellness topics that employees can explore.

Zac Cancel, an intern from Iowa State University, assisted in the development of the 2016 calendar. He said, “OES has been producing a safety calendar for several years, but we didn’t want to just do the same thing over again. We looked at old calendars and kept the items that we thought were critical, but we searched around for topics that were new and interesting.”

In addition to the safety topics highlighted in the calendar, Amy Knight, with OES, said, “This year we’ve added some wellness information to the calendar. Connecting wellness and safety has become more widely done in the last few years. It just makes sense.”

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In 2012, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health research provided a thorough overview on the relationship between health promotion and safety. It can be accessed at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2012-146/.

According to the research, there are many overlaps between worker safety and health promotion, especially for work that is strenuous and repetitive and for which being in good physical shape is essential. For example, obesity is one of the major contributors to back injuries because overweight people often have difficulty using good body mechanics when moving and lifting objects. There are also numerous links between workplace stress and work-related illness because stress contributes to high blood pressure. Inadequate sleep and fatigue may reduce concentration and the ability to work safely, even for employees in nonphysical jobs.

Expanding the calendar to include wellness topics is just one of the upgrades this year. The hope is to expand the information to help employees continue the conversation about safety. Information on the calendar pages provide everything a group would need to conduct a monthly safety meeting, including links to additional resources if someone wants to dig deeper into a topic. Cancel said, “The calendar pages themselves provide a good summary of information. There is additional information on our SharePoint site that can be found on the calendar pages.”

Knight said, “We also included pay period information this time. Plus there are  reminders for monthly or weekly safety recognitions from various groups like National Heart Month and National Cancer Prevention Month for February.”

The calendar is available in the warehouse. The Iowa DOT’s Safety and Wellness team would appreciate any feedback on this year’s calendar and ideas for the 2017 version. Send your comments and suggestions to [email protected].

Watch for the safety blog post next month about the Iowa DOT’s Behavior Based Safety initiative.

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