January 30, 2002
The Anatomy of a Safety Meeting
By Maureen Alvarez, CIH, CSP
Safety meetings are
a key part of a safety awareness program. Safety meetings
are also one of the best methods to motivate workers to get
safety out of the classroom and into the field. Safety meetings
can be formal or informal and can cover a variety of topics.
Formal meetings are
planned and announced in advance in order to provide groups
of employees with information from weekly safety letters,
training issues, regulations, procedures, and hazard protections.
Informal meetings, often referred to as "Tailgate"
meetings, can also be planned. "Tailgate" meetings
are often short in duration covering a specific topic. These
short safety meetings are very effective at relating safety
to a specific job or work task.
are important to the success of your safety program because
they impact all of the following:
1. Safety meetings
encourage safety awareness. Other means of getting the
safety message across are often too easily ignored. But,
when a group of workers get together to discuss the hazards
they have encountered and the steps they can take to eliminate
them, it increases each worker's safety consciousness.
2. Safety meetings
get employees actively involved. In a sense, safety meetings
put employees "on the spot"; that is, they demand
feedback. They get employees thinking about safety and encourage
them to come up with ideas and suggestions for preventing
accidents and minimizing the hazards with which they are most
3. Safety meetings
motivate employees to follow proper safety practices.
Small group meetings are the best place to demonstrate the
uses of protective equipment, proper lifting techniques and
other safety procedures.
4. Safety meetings
can help to nip safety hazards in the bud. A safety meeting
is the time to pinpoint minor hazards before they result in
real problems. It also presents a good opportunity to discuss
hazards that are inherent in the environment and that experienced
employees are likely to take for granted.
5. Safety meetings
introduce workers to new safety rules, equipment and preventive
practices. In addition to introducing new things, a safety
meeting is a good time to reinforce the importance of long-standing
safety procedures and to remind employees of the reasons behind
6. Safety meetings
provide vital information on accident causes and types.
Regular meetings are the best way of keeping employees up-to-date
on the hazards in their environment and what can be done about
them. They also make it easier for the company to maintain
accurate accident statistics, an important tool in tracing
the progress of prevention efforts.
The basic elements
of a safety meeting include, planning, preparation, supervision,
and documentation. Selecting a topic for a safety meeting
is not always easy. To ease the pain of this task, you can
choose your topic by:
1. Reviewing new
laws or industry standards.
2. Reviewing new
company policies and procedures.
existing safety hazards as a meeting topic.
future events in the industry that may impact specific work
5. Asking your
employees for issues they would like to see discussed at the
The best time to
schedule a safety meeting is in the beginning of the work
shift. Start the meeting on time, have the participants sign
in, state primary purpose of the meeting, review old business
from previous safety meetings, open agenda for suggestions
for future meetings, present material for current safety meeting
(use visual aids, such as video tapes, overhead transparencies,
slides, or printed handouts to stimulate the employee's interest),
review or give a quiz/test to the participants of the safety
meeting, and present agenda for the next meeting.
Safety meetings will
help keep the awareness of safety issues in the forefront.
Your employees will know that safety is important and they
will be able to help carry that message throughout your facility.
2002 by WorkCare™ All Rights Reserved
See you next month,