Many of us have probably sat through safety moments at one job or another. These are brief periods of time taken—often at the start of the day or the beginning of a meeting—to discuss some topic related to safety. Experience often shows that some safety moments are less than impactful.
They can seem like a routine exercise that staff perform out of habit as a formality. But safety moments can be an important and effective addition to the workplace if you can find a way to make them impactful. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Make It Relevant
It shouldn’t be surprising if your accounting department seems disengaged during a safety moment discussing operating heavy machinery. Safety moments should focus on the types of activities your employees actually engage in. Even in an office setting, safety moments can be appropriate to talk about issues like ergonomics, fire alarm procedure, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), for example.
In an article for Safeopedia, Art Maat writes, “Encourage employees to suggest timely topics which should be addressed at safety moments is a good way to get input, to reinforce the fact that safety is everyone’s business, and to highlight the fact that employee safety is vital to owners and employers.”
Make It Personal
Writing for EHS Today, Esteban Tristan, PhD, argues that personalizing safety moments makes them more impactful. “Simply put, safety is personal,” he writes. “We can talk about every possible hazard around us, discuss a dozen ways to mitigate the risks and remind people all day long about using PPE, but at some point, it’s important to remember why we are talking about safety in the first place: to make sure we all go home safely every day.”
This may seem counterintuitive, but if you are getting the sense that your staff seem to zone out during the daily, set-your-watch-to-it safety moment, consider having them less frequently.
Save them for special situations, such as following an accident at your facility, a news story about a safety incident, or leading up to an unfamiliar, potentially dangerous activity. This may help get everyone’s attention, precisely because it’s not part of the day-to-day routine.
Safety moments can sometimes come across as boring and habitual. This is bad news for safety because it means people will tend to ignore the safety message being conveyed. It doesn’t take much to tweak your standard safety moment process and encourage greater engagement.