How to Communicate Successful Safety Moments

Safety doesn’t happen by accident.8182099299_c085f5f19b_z

Hazards on the Job Site

As our weekly schedule fills up, we want to do every job faster and easier at work with short-cuts and hurry-ups, which can end up endangering ourselves and those around us. How often have we rushed a simple daily task, such as not letting your car windshield defrost, or driving too quickly in adverse conditions? It’s often the little mistakes or overlooks that result in the big consequences.  For example, driving in the snow you may start slow and cautious but after a little while with no mishaps, you grow more confident and increase back to your usual speed. The radio gets switched back on, you lose focus and stop paying attention, and that can be when disaster strikes. We need to be constantly reminded of hazards and safety practises when we are working in a high risk environment, and daily safety moments have been shown to be one of the most effective ways to do so.

How to Conduct Safety Meetings

A safety moment, or daily safety meeting, or toolbox meeting, as explained by Safeopedia is a brief discussion on a safety-related topic that occurs at the beginning of a work shift. These meetings are often used in work environments that may present risk to workers, such as construction and industrial settings. They are designed to remind employees about safe practices and issues related to safety. Safety moments cover topics such as how to prevent dangerous falls, lift heavy loads safely or avoid hearing loss in the workplace. In addition to informing employees about specific safety issues, they also aim to contribute to a corporate culture that values and reinforces safe practices. They may even include tips for overall safety outside the workplace. They are often told as a narrative, such as a true story about a safety-related incident. These moments are used to highlight to everyone on the team that everyone wants to finish the day in the same healthy state in which they arrived.

It is very important that these meetings are clear and to the point. The effectiveness drops when the safety moment turns into a safety hour. The end goal is to direct attention to a key message or process. Rehashing the same demonstration over and over on will lose the attention of the team and tarnish the exercise. A good safety moment shows your interest in keeping the team safe, as opposed to simply making sure no one steps out of line.

Effective communication and record keeping play key roles in the successful adoption of a safety culture and reducing the number of workplace accidents.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the United States recommends documenting these safety sessions, by recording information about the topic, the supervisor, date, and the names of the workers who were present. This can be extremely valuable moving forward with other topics, or when revisiting an old topic to know what areas of the discussion had been previously addressed. Proper documentation will also help if an incident arises and someone is injured to show that due diligence was followed, but also to understand if other measures could have been discussed. Employing an effective safety management program in the workplace requires a proactive approach that will reward a company’s genuine concern for its employees, and its due diligence surrounding these efforts.

Keeping this in mind, it should be considered that with industries moving towards a more digital presence, it makes more and more sense for company documentation and record keeping to be completed on a mobile device in the field, while storing it in digital format for cataloguing, rather than keeping mounds of paper-based documentation.

It might take up a few moments of the work day, but taking the time each day to communicate safety helps contribute to fewer lost time incidents and workers’ compensation (WC) claims, lower WC premiums and administration costs, higher employee morale, and a better company reputation.

Photo Credit: NAVFAC CC BY 2.0