During the first week of August, Rutkoski Fencing, Inc. (RFI) participated in OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week. Our company has developed a comprehensive safety program for years, always reevaluating, changing, and adding for the well-being of everyone on our staff. So, we use this time of the year to reconnect on why safety matters to each individual employee.

Weeks before Safe + Sound Week,  our team began planning activities and challenges.  Due to the nature of our employees being at multiple project sites across different states and offices, the activities have to work for all involved.  In addition to taking the safety pledge and encouraging participation, we take pleasure in offering chances to win prizes to enhance the overall experience! In this blog post, we will share our experience as one of the 134 Pennsylvania participants in the nationwide event.

What is Safe + Sound Week?

Each August, Safe + Sound Week is held across the nation to acknowledge workplace health and safety programs and to provide information and ideas on how to keep workers safe honing in on safe workplaces being sound businesses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of worker deaths and reported injuries in the United States has decreased by more than 60 percent in the past four decades since the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed. However, every year, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job (a rate of 14 per day), and more than 3.6 million suffer a serious job-related injury or illness.

Workplace injuries and illnesses can have severe consequences not only for employees and their families but also for businesses. However, adopting a safety and health program can significantly enhance the safety and health performance of small and medium-sized businesses, reduce costs, and enhance competitiveness.

Safety and health programs help businesses:

  • Prevent workplace injuries and illnesses
  • Improve compliance with laws and regulations
  • Reduce costs, including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums
  • Engage workers
  • Enhance social responsibility goals
  • Increase productivity and enhance overall business operations

Taking the Pledge

This is the time of year when we renew our commitment to being safe and sound for our safety and the safety of those around us.  The statement of the pledge is as follows:

“I pledge to make safety a core workplace value. Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy workplace, and I will work to ensure everyone goes home safe and sound every day. My workplace will be taking action to improve our safety and health program during Safe + Sound Week 2023.”

Rebecca Rutkoski, the HSE and Compliance Director at Rutkoski Fencing, shares her thoughts with us, “Our company is rooted in the belief that our employees are our greatest asset. Their well-being is paramount and partnering with organizations, such as the National Safety Council, for important events like Safe and Sound Week, provides us a way to engage our employees and further enhance our safety culture. I truly feel that the more we talk about it, the more our employees think about it, and the more they think about it, the more safety-conscious they become.”

It’s no secret that many of us can fall into a sense of complacency in our work.  We need to remind ourselves and those around us who affect our safety that is worth taking the extra steps.

4 Ways to Participate

The nature of the fencing business requires RFI’s employees to be spread out across various states and offices. To ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all, we developed a digital plan consisting of activities and challenges. This approach allows all employees to participate at their own convenience and pace.  We used the many resources provided by OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week website and created a prize entry system that worked for our unique industry.

Employees could earn 1-2 prize entries per activity, with more chances to win an RTIC Cooler by participating in more activities. They are as follows:

  1. Safety Quiz (1 Entry) – Our team created a digital form to quiz themselves on some basic safety knowledge like: “How do you report a safety concern in your company?”,  “True or False: Federal law entitles you to a safe workplace. You have the right to speak up about hazards without fear of retaliation.”, and “Where do you get new personal protective equipment (PPE) when needed?”.  The quiz also challenged employees to name three things they can do in the next month to play an active role in the health and safety of their workplace.
  2. Safety Challenge (1 Entry for Each Item Found) – This activity challenged employees to observe the chemicals around them.  The chemicals could be found in offices, yards, buildings, trailers, vehicles, and project sites.  They were asked to compare the found chemicals to our Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and submit a picture of those not found in our system.
  3. Video Toolbox Talk (2 Entries) – Finding new ways to talk about safety issues is always at the forefront of our safety team.  It helps to keep the same topics interesting and current in their minds.  We selected a YouTube video on the topic of Heat Stress to follow the new positive trend and statistics of microlearning and short videos in the safety world.
  4. Why Safety Matters To Me? (1 Entry) –  We always like to come back to this question during Safe + Sound Week.  It is a reflective way to remind ourselves why safety matters to the individual.  Our staff was asked to fill out and submit a word bubble answering this personal question.

After extending the submission period to two weeks, we tallied the number of entries per person.  The names were added to a Wheel of Names Random Name Picker, multiple times for those who submitted more than one entry, and 3 winners were chosen.

As we reflect on occasions such as Safe + Sound Week, it reminds us of our steadfast dedication to improving our safety culture through three main components. These components comprise management leadership, active worker involvement, and a systematic strategy for identifying and addressing potential hazards in the workplace. The National Safety Council acknowledges the significance of these elements in establishing an effective safety plan.

At Rutkoski Fencing, we are dedicated to participating in future safety events like this one. Safety is not only a priority but a fundamental value of our company culture. We consistently seek out new and creative methods to foster a culture of safety, guaranteeing that each and every employee returns home to their loved ones safely each day.