Have you been tasked with creating a safety newsletter and do not know where to start? This post will discuss what a safety newsletter is and provide tips to assist you in creating a great newsletter.
What is a Safety Newsletter?
Safety newsletters provide employees with relevant safety information regarding workplace hazards, best practices, and safety tips. The scope of what can be covered in a safety newsletter can vary greatly.
These newsletters can be distributed digitally via email, shared on a company intranet, or physically printed out.
Employee Newsletter with Safety Information
Some organizations choose to provide health and safety information in a broader company newsletter that is sent out to employees. While the entire newsletter is not dedicated to safety, this practice can also be effective in communicating safety to employees on an ongoing basis.
This method may be more effective in getting employees to actually read the newsletter. There may be information within the newsletter that the employees look forward to reading, and while they read the piece of information they primarily want to review, they will take time to also review the safety information provided within.
Does OSHA Require Safety Newsletters?
OSHA does not require safety newsletters to be sent to employees. OSHA does, however, consider it a vital practice as part of having an effective health and safety program.
In OSHA’s “Effective Workplace Safety and Health Management Systems Fact Sheet” they state that employers should “develop and communicate a safety and health policy to all employees”. Safety newsletters can play a vital role in a wider safety communication program.
Why Should I Send a Safety Newsletter to My Employees?
Safety newsletters can provide employees with vital information regarding the hazards and best practices to prevent injuries and illness in the workplace. These newsletters can also help cultivate buy-in for safety efforts within your organization.
It takes ongoing and consistent efforts to have a best-in-class safety program. It is vital to continuously communicate safety messages across the organization. Safety newsletters are a great way to do so. It is not enough to have an annual safety meeting and expect to have a great safety program.
How do I Get Employees to Actually Read It?
The best way to get the employees to want to read the safety newsletter is by providing them with an interesting read. If there is value in the newsletters, then they will take the time to read it.
- Post it in a Common Area – If you find that employees are not opening their emails to read the newsletter, then post it in common areas such as a conference room or a break room.
- Incentivize Reading the Newsletter – Ask employees questions regarding information only found in the newsletter. Offer small rewards for the correct answers. Another idea is to email a quiz with a reward for the first correct answers several days later regarding the newsletter information to get employees to engage with the information.
- Make it Mandatory – If you are sharing vital information in the newsletter and you are finding that no one is reading it, simply make it mandatory. This practice could include signing the newsletter and turning it in. You could add a quiz question or two to it to assess knowledge as well. This should be the last option in getting employees to read the newsletter.
How Long Should a Safety Newsletter Be?
Safety newsletters are usually one to two pages in length. The longer or more wordy the newsletter is, the less likely the employees will read it. If there are many graphics within your newsletter, a length of two pages is normally fine. If your newsletter is wordy, try to stick to one page.
Who Should Create the Newsletter?
An individual within the company’s safety department is usually tasked with the responsibility of creating the newsletter. Other individuals can be asked to contribute to it as well to get a second opinion of what information is shared. Involving other personnel can also help to keep the newsletter’s messaging fresh.
What Should be Included in a Safety Newsletter?
Anytime you are communicating a safety message, no matter what the medium, you should strive to make it impactful. If you are just going through the motions to throw something together for the sake of getting it done, why should you expect anyone else in the organization to care? Below are some items you can incorporate into your company’s safety newsletter.
Did your company or a department hit a safety goal? Sharing the news in a newsletter is a great way to commend the employees who made the success happen. This practice can also lead to other employees wanting to strive towards their own safety goals in order to be recognized.
Industry publications do a great job of sharing relevant and timely information that you may not have communicated to your workforce. Browse publications and websites that serve your industry for vital information that is related to the work that your company does.
The core part of a safety newsletter is sharing safety messages. These messages are usually time-relevant, such as a seasonal safety message. Browse our completely free 250 safety talks to get inspiration for your next safety message. These talks should be cut down in order to be able to share other information within the newsletter.
A newsletter is a great way to put a spotlight on employees who achieved something relating to safety. A few examples of when an employee could be recognized include having a great idea to mitigate a hazard, achieving a safety certification, stopping work to address a hazard, or going a long period of time without having an injury.
How Frequently Should You Send the Newsletter?
It is common for safety newsletters to be sent on a quarterly basis. Some organizations may choose to do more frequently, such as monthly, or even on a weekly basis.
There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing how frequently you want to send out these newsletters. Some of these factors include:
- Will my employees read a weekly or monthly newsletter? Let’s keep it real for a second, will sending the newsletter too many times throughout the year actually cause employees to read it less frequently?
- Am I able to provide value in the newsletter every time I send it? Related to the point above, employees are only likely to read the newsletter consistently if they find value in it. If you are struggling to provide value on a more frequent basis, it may be worth scaling back how many you choose to send throughout the year.
- Do I have the time to consistently produce the newsletter? If you are already struggling to meet the daily responsibilities of your role, why stress yourself to produce something that may not make a significant difference in the safety program? Newsletters can be impactful but forcing yourself to create one every week may not be the best use of your time and energy if more pressing issues are a factor to consider.
Tips for Making the Newsletter
I am all about designing systems and processes to streamline tasks whenever possible, especially ones that you need to repeat over and over. Creating a safety newsletter would be one of those tasks. You need to lock in a process to make creating the newsletter a breeze. Below are some tips on how to do so.
Set a Day to Work on It
Set aside time well ahead of when the newsletter is due to be sent out to work on it. You may have to wait to get specific information to put into the newsletter prior to sending it, but you can get a bulk of it done well before the deadline. This practice helps reduce the stress in the process of creating it.
Save a Template
Once you figure out the structure of your newsletter, create a template! You can use Microsoft Word or Canva to easily create a template that can be used over and over again. This drastically reduces the time needed to create the newsletter.
Request Ideas from Others
Safety is everyone’s responsibility within an organization. There are probably many people within your organization who want to take part in the safety program. Asking employees to share ideas for the newsletter is a great way to get participation as well as to take the burden of you having to come up with every single idea for the newsletter.
Free Examples of Safety Newsletter Templates
There is no right way when it comes to creating a safety newsletter template. What may work for one company may not work for another. Browse the example newsletters from established organizations below to get inspiration for creating a template that will work for your organization.
OSHA’s Quick Takes
OSHA puts out a weekly safety newsletter titled “Quick Takes”. These newsletters are normally one page in length and discuss a single safety message. These messages are also translated into Spanish, which can be useful if you have a Spanish-speaking workforce. While your company’s safety newsletter should be more comprehensive, the messages in this newsletter can be leveraged for your own.
National Safety Council’s Newsletters
The National Safety Council (NSC) publishes various monthly newsletters. You can click this link to see three of their newsletters, “OSHA Up to Date”, “Traffic Safety”, and “Today’s Supervisor”. These newsletters require having a membership with them to receive every month.
Humboldt State University’s Newsletters
There are many newsletters you can find with a quick Google search. You can click this link to see safety newsletters that Humboldt State University publishes on a monthly basis for their employees. These newsletters are two pages dedicated to a single topic. They go into great detail and provide useful graphics to communicate the safety message.
Safety newsletters can be an impactful component of a more extensive safety communication program. Use the tips above to create a resource that employees will look forward to reading and learn from. Utilize the information in this post to make the process of creating these newsletters an efficient one.
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