Get Them Moving! Creative Ways to Make Your Safety Talks “Stick”

Six Ways to Make Your Safety Talks "Stick": Get Them Moving Beyond Health and Safety Courses--Call to Action!Last issue we looked at a two tips for conducting more effective, more engaging safety meetings–namely, “lead it, don’t read it,” and “ask, don’t tell.”  Both of these tips, taken together, will help eliminate the monotonous, disengaged safety meetings many of us have unfortunately grown accustomed to.

In this issue we’ll look at another tip that will help us improve the level of engagement and ownership we’re getting in these meetings, one that will get them actively thinking about hazards on the job, and one that you’re probably not going to learn by taking your standard health and safety courses

Tip 3 – Conduct “Roving” Safety Meetings

One of the best ways to make a pre-job safety meeting more engaging and interactive is to turn it into a hazard hunt. A hazard hunt is in effect a “roving” tailgate meeting. Here we can apply the question-format principles we covered in the previous tip. [password=”ste-02″]

To do this in a way that maximizes engagement, we’ll start the meeting at the regular meeting point and have a brief, two-way conversation about the work tasks and other related assignments to ensure everyone knows and understands their role that day. It’s helpful to make a note of just where on the job site everyone will be working, or better still to rough-sketch a map of the job site and mark the spots on the map where each person or work-crew will be spending most of their day.

50 things you must know about safety leadershipThe meeting leader can then instruct the group to follow along as they walk the job site to get a better feel for what they’ll be up against that day. Once the group arrives at the first spot marked on the job-site map, the meeting leader will say something like, “Okay, this is where John and his crew will be working today. Folks, let’s just take a look around here. What hazards or potential hazards might John and his crew have to watch out for today?”

Once the group has a chance to contribute their thoughts on hazards, the meeting leader can follow up by asking, “John, what can you and your crew do to mitigate or eliminate those hazards? How do you plan to avoid those dangers today?” The meeting leader gathers John’s input, his work crew’s input, and input from the rest of the group, then moves on to the next location on the job-site map and repeats the process.

This meeting format accomplishes several things. First, it gets the entire work crew thinking actively about the potential dangers of the job that are directly in front of them and that they can actually see. Because they can see it, it acts as a visual aid that helps turn an otherwise abstract safety concept into a concrete reality.

fctc-online-bannerSecond, it sparks a lot of good conversation about what those dangers are and how to work safely in spite of them. And third, it gives everyone the opportunity to watch out for everyone else, to advise each other on potential hazards they may not otherwise have noticed, to coach each other on how to work safely that day, and to reinforce what they should already know via the health and safety courses they’ve already been through.

Be sure to view the video below for more information about all this. We’ll continue looking at ways to make your safety message “stick” in our next issue.  But that’s all for this edition of Recordable INSIGHTS. Until next time.


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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.