Important Things to Know About Safety Talks

Tailgate meetings, tool box talks, crew briefings, safety time-out – these are some of the other names of safety talks, which vary according to industry.

For instance, some people who are in the workforce would be asked by a supervisor to gather around the machine shop. The supervisor will then deliver a brief safety pep talk. After that, he/she would distribute the work assignments to the employees and provide them their tool list. People in this industry call them tool box talks since there is always a tool box close by. At construction sites, these talks are usually done around the tailgate of the pick-up truck of the supervisor. Whether it was by the tool box or around the tailgate, these discussions are basically the same: informal meetings between the employees and supervisor.

Who Should Conduct Safety Talks?

Safety TalksThese meetings must be conducted by someone who has direct supervision over the workers. The safety of the employees is a responsibility of the supervisors that is why they should be the ones discussing safety trainings to their employees.

Topics to Cover

The topics must be specific to the work environment. They must be up-to-date and varied enough to cover:

•Job-specific training requirements
•Accident trends
•Details related to the tools and equipment that the employees are using

Usually, generic topics are not effective because the employees could not relate the information to their specific job task. Safety topics should not only be specific, but also relevant to the employees. For instance, there is no need to discuss sailing safety when the work environment is a factory.

What Makes These Talks Effective?
The effectiveness of safety talks is determined by the following:

•Relevance of the safety topic to the task at hand
•If the topic is up-to-date
•How easy for the employees to understand the discussion

Opening a work shift or taking breaks during a regular shift to discuss certain safety topics related to the job at hand could be really effective in keeping safety fresh in the minds of the employees.

How Often Should Supervisors Conduct Safety Meetings?

Supervisors can deliver safety meetings at predetermined intervals. For instance, they can be conducted on a weekly or monthly basis. This can give time for the supervisor to get together with the employees. This would also reinforce the fact that the supervisor is accountable for safety. While safety talks are informal, their regularity would emphasize a commitment to have a safe work environment.

Safety meetings can also be used to discuss new and timely issues like changes to processes or equipment. For instance, the supervisor can use the safety talk to introduce new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for new chemicals to be used in the worksite.

How Long Should These Meetings Last

Safety meetings must be short and direct to the point. It is best to limit them to about 10 to 15 minutes. Ironically, shorter meetings normally require the most preparation. It would take a lot of time, as well as effort, to obtain the necessary information and present it in a way will keep everyone interested.

Who Should Attend?

Every employee supervised by the person conducting the meeting must attend. Perhaps, this makes it necessary to conduct multiple sessions so the supervisor could reach employees who are in various work areas, use different tools and machinery, and have different work assignments.

Should the Supervisor Document the Attendance?

The attendance must be documented in every safety talk. The supervisor must keep track of the compliance of the employees to work safety. For instance, the attendance forms could be a proof that the company has delivered the required training under the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard.

All in all, the potential uses for safety talks are only limited by the supervisor’s resources and imagination.