Safety Shares Benefit Everyone

Posted by Jillian Rahn on January 7, 2016 at 3:26 PM

Have you ever attended a meeting in your workplace that began with someone informally presenting a Safety Share? If you typically work in an office environment, you’ve probably wondered why your organization even requires these for non-field employees. How could you possibly benefit?

Safety shares (which can go by many other names including Toolbox Talk, Tailgate Safety Meeting, and Safety Moments) are an informal discussion or presentation that focus on various safety issues. They are often held at the beginning of a meeting or before the start of a task to promote an organization’s safety culture and facilitate health and safety discussions. Most organizations require them before manual tasks or jobs are performed, but some organizations take it a step further and have an employee share a story before a meeting. 

Here's a scenario on how safety shares can help build greater safety awareness:

Jane, an HR employee at a large oil and gas company, has had to sit through and give safety shares for every meeting at her tenure with the company. She’s heard her peers’ stories day after day, often times feeling as if it was a waste of time and dreading the days it would be her turn to share again.

Jane recently moved into a new house and was having some construction done on her roof. When the construction worker, Dave, arrived and unloaded a ladder from his truck and prepared to climb up, Jane noticed he was missing a spotter, materials to tie-off to the ladder, and all required personal protective equipment (PPE) including a helmet. She recalled her boss’ safety share where a relative fell off a ladder while hanging Christmas lights and immediately asked Dave to leave and return once he had the required safety measures in place.

Dave left and returned with an additional person to help and with all of his proper PPE. Jane watched as the two men ripped tags off of their new helmets and wondered, “Does this construction company enforce any safety rules?” Satisfied they were safe, Jane allowed the men to begin work and a few weeks later, she spotted the men working on a neighboring house, using all of the proper PPE and safety measures available.

Jane’s organization’s culture of safety shares had spread: first to Jane, then to the construction company. Because Jane had participated in safety shares at her office, she was able to share her knowledge with Dave who was able to share with his organization who in turn, implemented better safety practices for employees and future tasks.

The next time you’re sitting in an office meeting listening to a safety share wondering what the point is, remember: a safety culture benefits from including everyone.

To help organizations achieve safety success, we published an eBook which examines five practices that help strengthen safety cultures. Download it today and learn more about how you can implement each practice in your organization.

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Topics: Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Shares

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