City of Manassas focuses on safety in June

Throughout the month of June, recognized as National Safety Month by the National Safety Council (NSC), the City of Manassas organized several events and observances to keep safety in the forefront of employees’ minds while working.

“National Safety Month focuses on reducing preventable injuries and fatalities not only at work, but on the road and in our homes,” said City of Manassas Risk Manager Brenda Cogdell.

“We wanted to use this month to promote safety and our actively caring environment where all city employees look out for the safety and welfare of each other with courage and compassion to help achieve a safe and healthy workplace.”

Each week throughout the month the city held an activity or event that all staff were encouraged to participate in.

“We began with a safety trivia contest,” said Cogdell.

For three days during the week, safety trivia questions were posted on the city’s safety first page. For example, employees were shown the Run. Hide. Fight Active Shooter video and were asked to provide three important things employees should do if they decide that “Hide” is the optimal scenario.

At the end of the week, two staff who answered correctly were randomly drawn to each receive a Yeti tumbler.

The city also asked staff to participate in their Why I Stay Safe Initiative by submitting a reason or picture explaining why they choose to stay safe each day. Entries were shared through the city’s website and COM TV channel. Of those participating, two were randomly chosen to receive an Amazon Echo Dot.

On Tuesday, June 12, employees were invited to receive a free “safety cone” from Swirlie’s Soft-Serve Ice Cream Truck. The truck set up outside of city hall and was accompanied by a safety booth. There, staff were asked to sign a pledge to participate in the city’s actively caring environment, after which they received a raffle ticket. Two winners were drawn to receive Amazon Fire Kindles.

Throughout the week of June 18, employees were encouraged to take a FREE online safety or health course through the VMLIP Online University. After course completion, employees could submit their certificate to risk management. Two participants were randomly selected to receive a Yeti tumbler.

On Tuesday, June 26, a five minute PowerPoint presentation developed to prevent fall hazards was looped continuously throughout the morning in the public works conference room.

“Falls are the most common and serious hazard in construction-like work activities,” said Cogdell. “They account for nearly 40 percent of occupational deaths in the workplace, so we really wanted employees to come by for a quick safety session on this danger.”

As a bonus, coffee and donuts were provided to staff who attended.

“We had more than 200 people participate throughout the month,” said Cogdell. “119 signed the pledge, 25 sent in a why I stay safe picture, 45 answered trivia questions, 25 participated in the stand down for safety at public works, and eight took an online course.”

The city’s safety officer, Vinny Gallo, began planning the event after finishing distracted driving awareness campaigns in April. Gallo made several enhancements to previous year’s observances, adding a greater focus on safety education and growing the city’s safety culture.

“Our City Manager W. Pat Pate says that ‘our employees are our greatest asset,’ and this is one way we are able to demonstrate the city’s commitment to safety,” said Cogdell. “He is part of our on-boarding team and emphasizes safety with our new employees from day one.”

Cogdell says the city’s continuous safety efforts are making an impact.

“We are continually seeing employees become more engaged with safety and each other’s well being,” said Cogdell. “This is evidence that our actively caring culture is taking hold.  We believe every employee is a safety ambassador, and the approach is working.”