Safety meetings happen in a variety of ways from more formal meetings where a committee meets to quick, five- or ten-minute meetings that take place prior to the start of a shift—either way, safety meetings are an essential component of any robust safety program.
Regular safety meetings provide businesses with a tool to help combat complacency and remind the workforce that safety is always a core value. But, keeping safety meetings engaging and informative can become challenging, especially if you have been conducting them for quite some time.
So, what topics can companies introduce to keep their employees informed and interested? We will be providing some of our most-recommended safety topic ideas in this post.
Carbon Monoxide Awareness
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. The toxic, undetectable gas is not visible to the eye and has no smell— making it extremely difficult to notice in the event of a leak. There are many ways carbon monoxide can be brought into the workplace. Gas powered generators, furnaces, boilers and vehicles all produce carbon monoxide and can quickly become dangerous if proper ventilation is not used. And since 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, this is a safety meeting conversation that should not be overlooked.
Many businesses require their team members to drive, whether it’s using company vehicles or the employee’s personal vehicle. Unfortunately, this can be a major safety hazard, as distracted driving is incredibly common in today’s world. In 2016, nine percent of fatal crashes in the United States were reported as distraction-affected crashes. Speaking with your employees about distracted driving policies is crucial for reducing the risk of collisions and protecting both your staff and the general public.
Another aspect of distracted driving that could be included in this topic would be to mention the laws in your state for operating a vehicle while using a cell phone. Currently, 20 states forbid the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, 38 states have banned ALL cell phone use by new or teenaged drivers, 21 states prohibit school bus drivers from using a cell phone and 48 states have made it illegal to text and drive.
When contemplating safety huddle topics, sometimes it’s okay to think small. After all, it’s often the most mundane, everyday tasks that lead to workplace accidents. The use of power tools is a great example of this. Many employees become comfortable using mechanical tools, especially if they have been doing so for years. But one wrong move could easily result in a debilitating injury. Tripping over cords, cutting fingers, and materials ricocheting into the eyes are all common injuries associated with the use of power tools. Thus, this is one of the most important safety meeting topics for businesses who use these devices. Another great way of making this topic more engaging is to make it a “hands on huddle” by performing a safety inspection of the power tool during the huddle.
Violence in the Workplace
When employees take their frustrations out on another team member in the form of harassment, threats, or physical violence, business owners have a legal obligation to respond. These situations put everyone at risk, and also impact staff morale and productivity. For this reason, it is important for every business to add this subject to their list of safety topics for work meetings. Check out these tips for preventing workplace violence.
All employees have the right to a safe and healthy working environment and this includes the absence of toxic bio agents like mold. Employees with respiratory conditions like asthma, chest infections, or allergies are at an increased risk of falling ill when exposed to mold in the workplace. By including mold in your safety topics for meetings, you can ensure that your employees are aware that they can refuse to work if mold is present, and communicate your company’s control and clean-up procedures.
This is a common toolbox talk. Employees across numerous industries are often exposed to high temperatures, from cooks and kitchen staff to roofers, landscapers, or welders. These working conditions can lead to all sorts of hazardous situations, including fainting, heat stress/stroke, or death. Employers should always check the heat index to ensure their workers are operating in a safe environment, and of course, use this as a safety moment for meetings.
Unlike heat illness, the effects of cold weather on workers is often an overlooked topic. This is especially hazardous when workers are not accustomed to working in the cold. These weather-related conditions can lead to serious and life threatening situations if workers are not properly prepared.
Many employers put a dress code in place to ensure that their team members present a professional appearance. It’s important not to forget that dress codes are also necessary for safety purposes. Loose-fitting clothing, or clothing that does not fully protect the skin, can put employees at risk. By making this one of your safety topic ideas, you can ensure that your workers understand how the clothing they wear to work can impact their safety, and discuss any policies you have in place.
When a workplace accident occurs, it’s imperative that the incident is properly documented. This allows the employer to accurately track safety performance and address safety concerns more effectively. Filing safety reports is an industry best practice and can result in serious repercussions for businesses if not adhered to. No matter how tedious completing paperwork may be, it is in the best interest of both workers and employers to ensure the appropriate bases are covered.
First Day Back to Work or Last Day Before Days Off
When workers return from days off or a vacation or when workers are dreaming of their impending vacation or time off, it has the potential to take their minds off work and they can become distracted. When this happens, they are more likely to overlook a potential hazard or make a mistake they normally wouldn’t. Discussing this with your employees can remind them to be extra vigilant when returning to work or before going on vacation, making this a no-brainer when considering good safety meeting topics.
The Pressure to Work Faster
This is a workplace hazard that almost every business has to combat. It can be a constant dilemma for employers and employees alike— deadlines must be met, but not at the expense of the worker's safety. Whether it’s clients demanding a job be completed more quickly, or bosses scrambling to outperform their competition, placing too much pressure on staff members can result in corners being cut, and ultimately, unsafe working conditions. Thus, this is one of the safety meeting topics that should not be forgotten.
Making It Personal
Everyone has a story to tell when it comes to safety. Allowing employees to talk about a time when they made poor choices for their own safety and how it impacted them is guaranteed to be impactful to your workforce.