Do employee safety meetings fulfill its essential objective of saving life and limb?
According to the International Labor Organization, approximately 2.78 million deaths are reported due to occupational accidents and about 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries or illness are reported.
Based on these numbers, we begin to ponder the core reasons for these losses; the most common being negligence, poor safety culture in the workplace, freak accidents or more.
Could these accidents have been avoided in the first place?
Most of it could have been averted with a strong occupational safety culture, where regular safety meetings entice workers to strictly adhere and report safety issues with sincere concern over their well-being and that of their fellow workers.
Employee Safety meetings shouldn’t be treated as a to-follow protocol forced by government regulations or compliance acts, but an opportunity to mould your office environment into a safe working zone which ultimately promotes better productivity.
Safety meetings effectively create awareness against impending dangers lurking around our workplace. It is our sole discretion to either ignore or abide by safety norms that determine our vulnerability.
There are 3 main objectives for an employee safety meeting:
Imparting awareness on safety issues significantly reduces risk. An aware employee is a better-prepared employee. With complete safety knowledge, we are better equipped to navigate through any perceived harm or danger zones in the workplace.
Toolbox Talk is the ideal short span (a maximum of 5 to 10 minutes) communication forum, where employees are given daily safety briefs that help them avoid any pitfalls on the job. At Toolbox Talks employees are also encouraged to voice their concerns.
Danger has no limits, be it time or space. We are often apprehensive to new surroundings or jobs but once familiarity breeds in, we begin to neglect the extra effort or time needed to follow safety norms. Most accidents at our workplace are not due to lack of awareness but an outcome of overlooking awareness issues.
For every accident, there should be several processes in place to evaluate the reasons for the accidents and for immediate corrective measures to be placed to make sure that further similar accidents don’t occur.
Let’s take a look at few ways to improve safety meetings:
1. Create Engaging Sessions:
Bring sessions to life by creating a vibrant atmosphere during safety meetings. Articulate lectures to invoke attention from workers. Go the extra mile to actually spend quality preparation time; After all, you may be responsible for saving lives.
Do not engage attention by projecting gruesome images or videos – this whole operation isn’t to scare employees but to instill safety practices through logical reasoning.
2. Limit Time-frame:
Keep sessions short – A notion that is a tad paraphrased, yet true. Shorter sessions capture the limited attention span of audiences. Longer ones evoke boredom.
Limit presentations and videos in a shorter time frame too. No matter how interesting the content can be, a condensed version is what audiences are looking for.
Depending on the industry and its liability to accidents, safety meeting can be on a daily basis, weekly or even monthly. Do not try to cram information into one session, focus on the important ones and use the safety catalogs to elaborate on safety measures as these catalogs can be read at the employees leisure.
3. Choose appropriate experts to lead the meetings:
The idea of getting employees to lead safety meetings not only undermines the role of safety experts but is a dangerous precedent considering the lack of proficiency that may lead to conflicting instructions.
Even safety leaders should be fine-tuned to all the intricacies of the office’s safety procedures, be it handling of equipment, office ergonomics and more.
Pick the right safety qualified personnel with the articulation and drive to lead safety meetings.
4. Interactive sessions:
Rather than having employees lead safety meetings, create a proactive atmosphere that allows employees to freely address their grievances or state their own inputs that would enable a safer workplace.
Take issues pointed out by employees seriously and show them you are all about action by swiftly addressing their concerns. A negligent attitude towards employee inputs makes employees resent company activities.
Find the right channel to communicate to employees, not everyone is comfortable on voicing their views in a public forum. Use e-mails or an EHS software as a quick addressable system.
5. Make iterations fun:
Listening to the same set of instructions over and over again eventually makes the subject dull. Yet, it is still important to re-state safety measures so that employees don’t get complacent on the job.
As familiarity breeds, the surprise element is no longer there and we tend to explore something new; this is exactly the reason why our favorite song suddenly becomes dull.
The solution lies in adopting a refreshed approach to iterating a subject. Create new layouts or videos, browse news facts on the same subjects, add a touch of humor in your presentation and perceive audience responses for better preparation.
A successful safety meeting is a catalyst for a safer environment in your workspace where accidents are negated due to sharper responses from employees.
News feeds from around the globe reveal a plethora of devastating events even in the safest of environments.
Yet, our knowledge on how to react during a crisis plays a crucial role in determining our well being.
Do you have better suggestions to improve safety meetings? Let us know through your comments.
Read more EHS related articles on the Track EHS blog.