P.A.C.E. Your Safety Meeting

safety meetings must ENGAGEThere are two seemingly contradictory principles that need to be true for any safety meeting to be effective:  Control and structure on the one hand, and openness and fluidity on the other.  If you can’t control the flow of the meeting, or if it’s too chaotic, you may never get to the points you need to make.  On the other hand, if it’s too controlled and too structured, you may very well cover those points but you’ll lose your audience and they’ll never internalize it. [content_protector password=”meeting-pace-08″ identifier=”meeting-pace-08″]

As I said, these seem to be mutually exclusive ideas, but that’s really only on the surface.  In fact, both of these things have to be true to accomplish the goal of an effective safety meeting.  One way to ensure control and structure is to P.A.C.E. your meetings.  P.A.C.E. stands for Prepare, Assign, Control, and Engage.

First of all, be sure you Prepare for the meeting before the meeting starts.  Complete any tailgate or toolbox meetings forms ahead of time, including what you think the day’s tasks will be, what the hazards will be, and your ideas on how to mitigate those hazards.  Or if this is a general safety meeting, have your agenda, your outline and your speaking points ready.  But in both cases, be sure to view these only as discussion points; and be prepared to modify them on the spot if the meeting takes a different direction once it starts.

Next, Assign tasks and roles.  This is especially important for any pre-job meeting.  When a task is left open-ended it tends not to get done because no one has taken ownership of it.  So be sure someone steps up and says “I’ll do it” to any task or safety activity that needs to happen that day.

But assigning tasks is not limited to post-meeting activities.  Be sure to also assign roles for the meeting itself.  Get others involved and participating, but plan this with them before the meeting so they, too, have some time to prepare their thoughts.  The more people you involve to help lead the meeting, the better your chances of transferring ownership for safety to those who are most at risk.

C stands for Control.  Control the general flow, focus and timing of the meeting, but be fluid and flexible on how that works itself out in any given meeting.  This is about good meeting facilitation, not about rigid control that stifles valuable contributions about safety.

Finally, be sure to Engage.  This is where the other side of control and structure takes over.  Engagement is about people and their ideas.  It’s about capturing their minds and their hearts, and getting them to take ownership of safety for themselves and for those around them.  Almost everything else we address in this series will focus on how to engage people.

That’s it for this edition of Recordable Insights. Until next time be sure all your discussions about safety are built in, not bolted on.



About the Author

Eric Svendsen
Eric Svendsen, Ph.D., is Principal and lead change agent for safetyBUILT-IN, a safety-leadership learning and development organization. He has over 20 years experience in creating and executing outcomes-based leadership development and culture change initiatives aligned to organizational goals, and he personally led the safety-culture initiatives of a number of client organizations that resulted in “best ever safety performance” years for those companies.