Safety Talks: What You Need To Know

Safety Talks - Learning from One Another

Safety is like house work; doing a little bit each day helps you maintain a safe and organized environment. Periodic safety talks are essential tools for achieving a positive workplace safety culture. Their presentation and the topics they cover are important in getting the safety message across.

Safety should be the first thing someone thinks about when starting and ending a workday, but after a while, work becomes routine and safety is forgotten. This can lead to injury incidents and near misses. Safety talks help keep safety on the forefront of the mind and employees safe from harm.

Time and Place

The majority of safety communication is done through screens or on paper, but in order to increase the impact of this communication, you must do it face to face. For this reason, periodic safety talks are great tools.

The goal of a safety talk is discussing topics related to facility work, directly on the facility floor. Incorporating it into team production meetings eliminates the need to set aside resources for a separate meeting.

Now that the setting has been established, what time should you conduct a safety talk? Safety talks must start the meeting to reinforce safety as a core value in production. This allows you to base the rest of your meeting on the safety topics you want your employees to remember.

Current Subject Make the Best Subjects

Although safety related subjects may seem inexhaustible, finding the right topic is difficult. Current hot topics are good starting points as they help employees associate risks with real like consequences, keep their attention on safety.

Incidents Within Your Facility

If your facility has had a recent incident, safety opportunity, or near miss, consider starting out your safety talk discussing what happened. This is a great way to make your employees more aware of what can happen.

Personal stories have the power to enhance your safety talks by giving an in person recount of what happened. Having experienced an incident first hand provides you with more in depth information and tips you can share with your colleagues.

No Facility Incidents: What To Do?

What if your facility has not had any recent incidents, near misses, or safety opportunities? In this case, use recent incidents that have occurred in a sister plant or other businesses in your community.

If you’re still looking for a safety talk subject, consider referring to our Safety Topics Blog. Each week, we post content related to a safety issue you should be aware of. Our topics range from protective equipment and personal home safety, to OSHA standards, safety rules and regulations. These briefs will provide you with a year’s supply of topics that you can discuss with your employees to improve safety awareness.

If you’re interested in going even further in your organization’s safety culture development, SafetyMyVoice is a tool you can use to share your personal “why” about staying safe. SafetyMyVoice helps you organize your feelings and thoughts about safety. Then you can share with the people you work with every day as you have opportunities. The key to improving safety is sharing your ideas openly and honestly. Safety culture becomes more accepted the more times you talk about it. The connection you form with your audience helps when you need to talk about specific incidents in the future. 

Some questions you can expect from the SafetyMyVoice tool are:

  • Has there ever been a time where safety did not feel important to you?
  • Was there a direct consequence of your belief?

SafetyMyVoice is all about you, your safety beliefs, and how you can improve. Our Safety360 Leadership workshop is the right place to start. This workshop gives you an in depth understanding of your safety perspective and helps you develop and practice your SafetyMyVoice.

Safety Talk: Content

After choosing a topic, it’s time to decide on content.

If the topic is based on an incident, what happened? What were the root causes? What was put in place to prevent future incidents? What changes do you need to make to prevent a similar incident? If the topic is related to a brief from our blog, start a discussion within your group about what was gained from the talk.  Lastly, if the talk is based on a personal story or SafetyMyVoice, remember to encourage honest speaking and group comfortability. Safety talks are not the time for judgement or exaggerations.

The main goal of incident-related safety talks is ensuring all employees understand that injury incidents do happen and can impact their lives. For this reason, mutual accountability, safety rules and protective equipment are important.  

Preparation Not Improvisation

Some topics are difficult to present as they are linked to past incidents that may have occurred at your workplace or related to safety rules that are difficult to enforce. Preparation for each topic is necessary in order to ensure you can answer your employee’s questions.

Common questions that you must prepare for include:

  • “What can we do if similar cases happen on our plant?”
  • “Do we still use similar equipment in our plant?”
  • “What can we do to prevent this incident from happening again?”

The better prepared you are for these questions, the better chance you have at giving a comprehensive answer to each question.

Two-Way Communication

Do not present safety talks as a lecture. Associates are our eyes in the work area and are better at identifying and reporting safety opportunities relating to safety topics. In fact, the second goal of a safety talk is identifying and correcting safety opportunities that can potentially generate incidents.

Effective safety talks depend on the way you and your colleagues communicate with one another and the examples you set as you work.

During the presentation, remember to ask associates for feedback on the incident:

  • Do you have any questions or suggestions?
  • Did this situation could occur in our plant?
  • Did you ever face it?
  • What would you do to prevent it from happening again?

Safety Talk: Closing

Keep safety talks consistent and organized. Make sure each talk proposes two goals that your facility should strive to reach. Always finish the safety talk by discussing the lessons learned and ways to prevent that type of incident in the future.

After each talk, record the number of safety opportunities presented by employees. If no safety opportunities are given, review the way you communicate and adjust it to help you achieve a bottom-up communication flow.

Frontline colleagues are our eyes in safety. Encourage them to report opportunities to help decrease the risk of injury.

Tags: safety culture , safety topics , injury prevention ,

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