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Why we all hate Health and Safety meetings

Another bloody meeting?! When are we supposed to fit those in? We don’t have time for that! No one wants them. No one says anything. It’s a waste of time, we’ve got nothing to talk about!

We hear this E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y.

So, this month’s toolbox talk is on…Toolbox Talks.

No, safety meetings shouldn’t drive you to drink early in the day, nor should you find staff coming down with mysterious illnesses on the day you have booked one. Safety meetings should be your chance to get your workers engaged and participating in Health and Safety.

No, you don’t have to have an hour-long meeting, with a PowerPoint presentation and a working lunch (although, to be fair food does help) …many of our clients incorporate H&S into their usual staff meetings, or as a quick discussion over their regular morning tea.

Since we see a lot of blank toolbox meeting forms, here are some suggestions for how you can make toolbox meetings start working for you (and less painful):

  • Discuss incidents that have happened recently and encourage the team to be part of deciding on how you will prevent these from happening in the future
  • Ask if any new hazards or risks have been identified, discuss them, talk about what controls should be in place, add them to the register
  • Send your team out and run a competition to see who can identify any hazards that aren’t already on your register (and then add them in)…prizes help!
  • As a team, review two or three hazards from your register – this might prompt you into having to check controls are in place, it could start a discussion around whether the register actually reflects what happens on the shop floor, and it means your register is reviewed on an ongoing basis
  • Look at the work you have coming up – who are you going to be working with? Where will you be working? What do you need to plan in advance?
  • Open the conversation up for concerns or suggestions – encourage this, reward it even!
  • Encourage each team member to run a meeting and be in charge of teaching one topic. It could be from the hazard register, it could be a refresher on a piece of equipment, it could be a task like checking everyone’s PPE or first aid kits. Safety meetings shouldn’t be one person droning on lecturing everyone, it should be everyone having a turn at droning on lecturing everyone (kidding)

Don’t have a meeting for the sake of a meeting. Give it a purpose…no one is going to participate in a meeting that they hate.

Lets not be haters.


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