Safety Meetings Don’t Need to be Dull

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David Burkhardt
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Safety is important, and it shouldn’t be boring.  Holding regular safety meetings to refresh and remind everyone of safety hazards and practices is vital for ensuring a safe work place.  The problem is that after a while presenting or listening to the same information can start to seem like a karaoke party, where everybody knows the words and the tune.

The danger of this is that important messages can get lost when the audience’s attention wanes. The challenge now becomes, How can the meetings be more interesting? Here are some ideas that may help.

 

  1. Facts tell, stories sell. – This is an old saw in the sales world that basically means people will be more interested in a subject if they can relate to it. By relating information about accidents, injuries, or near misses that have occurred can reinforce the importance of the message.  Stories can be obtained by personal experience, by talking to others, and off of the internet. The key is to make sure that the stories apply to your job.
  2. Guest speakers. –  Sometimes the messenger can get repetitive.  If Bob always runs the safety meetings, consider having others conduct some.  The change in delivery style can create more interest.  This also allows others to gain experience in communication and public speaking skills, and has the side benefit of reinforcing the information to the guest speaker, as they will likely review the material more closely before presenting it.
  3. W.I.I.F.M. – “what’s in it for me?”  This concept deals with the idea that the audience will be more interested if they understand the impact on them.  A key message can be the cost of accident or injury.  If everyone understands that the loss of work time affects them financially, it may be a motivation to avoid unsafe practices.  If everyone understands the workers compensation and or health insurance will only cover about 60% of their salary on average. They may think about how that reduced income will impact their personal life.
  4. Interactive participation. – In situations where props can be used, such as hand tools or protective equipment, picking an audience member to demonstrate to a procedure can be helpful.  In some cases a competition might be an option.  If the proper use of fall or respiratory equipment is being discussed, seeing who in the audience can put on the equipment properly in the shortest time might be a way to increase involvement.  This can serve as a team building exercise and procedures practice.  A small reward for the winner can also be used for motivation.

With a little though and some creativity, an important part of everyone’s job can avoid becoming drudgery.  It can also be helpful to ask for suggestions from your co-workers on ways to improve your safety meetings.  There may be a lot of good ideas out there, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

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