Safety meetings are one of the best ways to address the specific safety problems faced by your workers while promoting the overall safety and efficiency of your workplace.
Sadly, very often safety meetings are held only for legal requirements and to meet compliances. This means you don’t get the best out of the safety meeting. Businesses adopt a “Cookie-cutter” approach to safety meetings. Generic ones that talk about incident reports, procedures, protocols, processes with the help of power point slides provide no benefit either to the employees or the employer.
Employees see such meetings as yet another corporate procedure. They don’t buy into what’s presented at such meetings because they perceive the management as cops who present them with myriad policies and rules. When you nag your employees about following the right protocols and procedures who are viewed as a strict headmaster, causing the employees to look for innovative ways to break the rules, with no regard to consequences.
To improve the safety at work, employees don’t need a cop, but they need a coach.
Yes, during safety meetings, instead of just harping on rules like a cop, you must motivate and inspire them to follow safety protocols proactively, by taking on the role of a coach.
In today’s post, we give you a step-by-step guide for conducting an effective safety meeting at work, while also highlighting the best topics to be discussed at these meetings.
Step 1 – Scheduling the Meeting
Schedule safety meetings as the first thing in the agenda of a workday. This way your employees are likely to be more alert and not disturbed in the middle of a crucial task. Avoid post lunch meetings as your employees are bound to feel sleepy and less alert during this time. Avoid Fridays as employees are bound to be thinking of the weekend and find it difficult to concentrate.
It’s a good idea to stick to a regular schedule for safety meetings. Fix a particular day, like the first Tuesday of a month or the last Wednesday of the month and stick to it.
Even if your safety meeting falls on the same day every month, it pays to send out reminders to all your employees the day before the event.
Step 2 – Deciding on the Content of the Meeting
This step is highly crucial. Never conduct an impromptu safety meeting. Prepare the agenda for the event well ahead of time.
Coming to the big question, “What to talk at the meeting?” This one’s highly specific to your business. The key here is to keep it pertinent and timely.
For instance, you can address the safety challenges and issues faced by your department. Or maybe you had an accident in the workplace recently or a near miss. Discuss what went wrong and what could have been done better.
Alternatively, if you have noticed that a few employees don’t wear the necessary protective gear, or take shortcuts for a task, or are just fooling around, you can discuss all these at the safety meeting.
One important point to remember is that,
“Safety meetings aren’t the space to point fingers and reprimand individual employees.”
That’s better done at a one-to-one talk with the employee. Make the safety meeting a welcoming space, where everyone can share their opinion and honest feedback without the fear of being criticized or judged.
Suggestions for Other Topics to be Discussed during Safety Meetings
- Recent changes in safety regulations
- How someone in your company or in another company got injured
- How to safely operate a new piece of machinery that company has purchased recently
- Better ways to report unsafe conditions before it becomes a major issue
- Problems faced by employees when applying safety protocols
- New hazards to watch out for during a particular season (Check out Totalika’s monsoon preparation guide for workplaces)
- And more
Step 3 – The Length of the Meeting
According to several studies, the average attention span of an adult is just twenty minutes. So, ensure that your safety meetings are short and to the point.
Prepare a list of topics that you want to discuss on a particular meeting. One big problem is prioritizing the topic list. Arrange issues on a scale starting from 1. Discuss the higher-ranking topics and if you run out of time, move the remaining items to the next meeting, instead of dragging the current one.
The general rule of thumb is to limit the number of topics to just 2-3. This way, your employees are more likely to retain the information. This also, helps to keep your meetings short and focused, instead of all over the place.
Step 4 – Deciding on the Meeting Venue
This has a lot to do with the success of your meeting. For instance, if you’re demonstrating to employees on how to use new equipment or machinery, then it makes sense to hold the meeting where the machine is.
Alternatively, if safe lifting techniques are part of your meeting agenda, then your venue should be somewhere where there is space for employees to demonstrate and practice the lifting techniques. On the other hand, if you’re discussing how an employee had a near-miss or close-call, the logical place for the meeting is the actual scene of the accident. This way, you can re-enact the scene and describe what went wrong and what could have been done better.
On the other hand, if you hold meetings in a lecture hall or conference room, then ensure that the space is big, convenient and free from distractions.
Step 5 – Figuring out the Right Methods
This depends on the topics you want to discuss. You can opt for:
- Question and answer session
The most effective safety meetings are the ones that have two-way conversations, instead of a classroom lecture format.
Try to include a lot of visuals like diagrams, pictures, charts to help employees easily grasp your point. Additionally, hands-on meetings have a high success rate.
Remember this Chinese proverb,
“I hear I Forget, I See I Remember, I Do I Understand.”
People retain more of what they see and what they do, than what they hear. In other words, don’t just tell employees, instead show them what to do, how to do and why to do. Above all, provide them with the space to practice the new techniques and perfect it.
If you don’t have anything to demonstrate, break your lecture for a few minutes and spend some time hearing employee’s feedbacks.
The more you involve your employees in the safety meeting, the more they understand and the more they become equipped to handle a particular job. The result – lesser workplace accidents and improved safety.
For further guidance on customizing a tailored safety meeting that addresses the challenges of your business, get in touch with us.