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Effective Safety Planning Part 6: Safety Meetings

Posted on 21 April 2016 by cradmin

next-safety-meeting-date-time-location-topic-required-to-attendThe final edition of our six-part series on effective safety planning is aimed at helping you with the upkeep of all the hard work you put into your four-point safety plan: holding regular safety meetings. In a few states, such as Washington, Oregon and California, regular safety meetings are mandated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), but in most area, meetings are recommended but not required by law.

Keep Safety a Top Priority

If you talk to any organization or business specializing in OSHA-compliance training, they will all recommend that you hold safety meetings for several reasons. Some fabricators hold safety meetings every week while others prefer monthly, quarterly or even annually, the last of which is not recommended but better than having no meetings at all. A select few businesses go the extra mile and hold safety meetings daily or at the beginning of each shift to really hit home how important it is to effectively deal with workplace hazards. After all, taking five to 10 minutes each shift could end up saving you thousands of dollars in medical expenses and workers’ compensation premiums.

Safety meetings are one of the most effective ways to ensure that all employees know and remember all of the safety rules, and it encourages a culture of safety in your business. You will be able to discuss opinions and facts on what are acceptable work practices and clear up misunderstandings about how to use tools and equipment in a manner that is least likely to cause harm.

Set an Example as Team Leaders

Workplace safety meetings help management to get all employees to follow the safety standards you have put into place. Holding regular meetings also helps to reinforce the leadership role of management, but managers have also have to do their part by setting good examples for the others. When employees see management following all of the safety rules, they will be more inclined to do so themselves.

This is a vital part of safety meetings because it extends into everyday practices. In addition, you want your managers and supervisors to follow safety practices because when they get sick or injured, your liability is potentially higher than it would be for an entry-level worker.

Safety Meetings or Safety Committee?

Some OSHA jurisdictions allow regular safety meetings to be replaced with a full-time safety committee, but it is your job to discover which is more effective in your specific situation. For the most part, safety committees work best when you have more than 10 employees. When you have fewer than 10 employees, the time it takes to organize the committee and then have the members inspect each and every situation detracts from the work their regular work. In this case, safety meetings are a matter of dollars and cents.

What Is a Safety Meeting?

Safety meetings are usually led by one person who is in management or who has had extra training to learn all of the specific actions that must be taken to comply with OSHA regulations, or to go beyond compliance for even greater safety. The meetings may be overviews of new safety rules, or they may focus on a single situation. In Oregon, businesses that are involved in construction, manufacturing and utilities must keep written records of meetings for three years, but this is a good idea for all businesses no matter where they operate. When you have records of what was covered and who attended, it helps to reduce your liability should accidents occur in situations that were topics of one or more meetings.

If you have trouble thinking of topics for safety meetings, there is no need to try to discover them yourself. Of course, the most effective meetings are those that cover topics specific to your business and location. However, if you can’t think of anything to cover, the California State Compensation Insurance Fund and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries have both prepared lists of possible subjects that can either help you get started or save you when you are in a bind.

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