Safety meetings: they get a bad rap. They’re an important part of almost every business, yet few people hold them in high regard. The information discussed in these meetings is valuable, life-saving material, so why do both managers and employees dread them?
When businesses don’t conduct regular safety meetings, employees tend to get sloppy, take risks and consequently become involved in more accidents. According to OSHA, there were more than 4,500 fatal workplace injuries in 2014 (17 percent involving contractors), proving that there’s room for improvement when it comes to safety policies and procedures.
So how do owners and managers get employees on board with safety meetings? It’s important for a safety meeting to be lively, fun and engaging in order to be effective. The good news is that achieving these kinds of meetings doesn’t mean a lot of extra work. Here are few tips that owners and managers can use to get started.
Hold the meeting while workers are rested and refreshed. This is usually at the start of a shift or right after a break.
Use A Circular Setup
Use round tables or arrange chairs in a U shape so everyone can interact and see one another. With this setup, no one can hide in the back row.
Light It Up
Make sure that the room lighting is bright and the temperature of the room is cool and comfortable. Rooms warm up with more people, and warmer temperatures tend to make people sleepy.
Keep It Simple
Don’t overload your crew with too much information. Pick a focused topic, such as one safety procedure, or review facts about a specific hazard.
Keep It Short
Monthly meetings should only be about 30-45 minutes. If you hold weekly meetings, shoot for about 20 minutes. Your meeting should never run longer than an hour.
Add Some Sizzle
Add a game or a contest with prizes to the mix. Videos are also a great way to get away from the traditional “I speak, you listen” format.
Act It Out
Role-playing the use of a new machine or an important safety procedure gets your employees out of their seats and moving around. When they are actively involved, the information has a greater impact.
Ask For Input
Spend part of the meeting brainstorming and sharing ideas for preventing accidents or minimizing common hazards. People feel more engaged when they’re able to contribute.
Change It Around
Employees get bored with meetings that are redundant or repetitive. Change the format and location frequently to create a sense of something new.
Use A Guest Speaker
Bring in an OSHA rep or have an employee run the meeting. You could also find a webinar to watch.
Schedule It Out
Sit down and make a schedule of topics for the entire year. It takes less time to plan 12 topics at once than it does to pick 12 topics separately each month.
Changing how we think about and conduct safety meetings can make a big difference, and the payoff is a safer, more productive place to work.
Sources: https://www.osha.gov; http://meetingtomorrow.com/content-library/how-to-conduct-a-safety-meeting; https://blog.safetysmart.com/2014/05/10-ways-make-safety-talks-training-meetings-engaging/; http://www.sbic.com/resourcelibrary/2011/05/supervisors%E2%80%99-safety-update-effective-safety-meetings/; http://www.blr.com/safetytips/safety-meetings