Safety meetings play a vital role in communicating hazards and training employees. Safety meetings can be short, informal meetings done periodically or longer, formal training. Depending on the nature of the industry, safety meetings may be held every day or several times within a day. Other industries may only require a safety meeting once a week or month.
The role of the safety technician is to provide timely and useful information to the employees. The topics discussed at safety meetings should pertain to the work and tasks involved Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, and recent accidents or near-misses.
Within your industry there will be a constant flow of near misses and accidents that have happened. These do not need to be from within your company, they can be from anywhere in the world, as long as it pertains to or can be related to the work performed by your company. OSHA’s website has a plethora of information for specific industries’ current safety news and events to draw current topics from.
OSHA’s record of fatal accidents on work sites can be used by the public for safety meetings and training. These reports are usually very detailed with sketches, drawings and pictures. They also have recommendations for accident prevention and training incorporated into them. They are printable to use on your safety awareness boards. Use industry-related material or timely material to create the greatest impact.
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are required to be available to employees for every hazardous material they may use or become exposed to. Employees are responsible to be familiar with the MSDS and they should be incorporated into the employees' training. Safety meetings are a good environment to ensure and document employee familiarity. MSDS training can be used very effectively in safety meetings by tying a specific MSDS to a task or job that is coming up.
There are many health and safety topics that are required for employees. These requirements can be found on the OSHA website for general requirements as well as industry specific. These mandates reflect OSHA’s commitments to ensuring employees are trained appropriately for their jobs and OSHA has the topics online for you to use under the Safety and Health Topics link. Use these training requirements to supplement your safety meetings, introducing topics or qualifying individuals.
National Interest Topics such as “National Drive Safely to Work Week” or “Workplace Eye Safety Month” can provide great starting point for safety meeting topics. Epromos.com has a list of all the National Interest Topics with articles related to each available at no cost. Often posters or other paraphernalia are available to promote these topics.
Use near misses or other accidents that have happened in the past to emphasize good safety work practices in upcoming jobs. Incorporating safety policies for upcoming jobs or tasks will keep these topics fresh in the minds of employees as they perform the job. Daily or weekly reminders of safety basics such as fall protection, confined spaces, hearing protection, safety glasses, encompass many jobs and should be touched on regularly.
Safety raffles are a fun way to keep employees interested and involved in safety meetings. There are two ways to go about giving out prizes. The first way is to have a handful of prizes, such as company baseball caps under your arm while you ask questions or solicit involvement from your audience. When someone contributes, throw them a hat.
The second way is to have a weekly or monthly drawing where everyone’s name is drawn from a hat for a specific number of prizes. Good prizes are safety glasses, identification lanyards, company ball caps and T-shirts.
- Safety Technology; National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER); 2003
- Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines
- OSHA’s Fatal Facts