Safety meetings are an important part of our culture. Safety in construction is not a one-and-done arrangement. To ensure that a site or project is as safe as possible, a strong safety culture must be established. This includes ongoing education, reminders, and discussions around all aspects of safe work.
Safety meetings, sometimes referred to as “toolbox talks,” are an essential part of any safety program. They keep important concepts, topics, and guidelines top of mind for everyone who needs to know and remember. They also encourage discussion, feedback, and accountability from the workers who are on the front lines; Those who know what works and what doesn’t.
One of the most essential parts of a safety meeting agenda is, of course, the topic. Focusing on one specific area of concern each time allows the opportunity to properly highlight that topic and discuss it in depth. The following are a few popular safety meeting topics applicable on many construction sites:
PPE (personal protective equipment)
Personal protective equipment ranges from the ubiquitous hard hat for protection against falling objects to basic hand protection like silicon gloves used as a barrier against bodily fluids. There is also eye protection such as safety glasses and more. This means that there is plenty to discuss in a construction safety meeting on the topic. In fact, such a wide-ranging toolbox topic might span a series of meetings.
Hazard Communication and Identification
It’s essential that everyone on the worksite is aware of the major hazards posing a risk to their safety. Regular updates on identified hazards and the protocols in place to mitigate them should be a common feature of meetings, ensuring that everyone remains aware.
Construction Safety Training
Staying up to date with training is crucial. This is true whether it’s required by a governing body such as OSHA or CCOHS or simply highly recommended for workers doing specific jobs in the construction industry. Providing knowledge to workers and empowering them to keep themselves and others safe is an investment. It is an investment in them personally, in the company as a whole, and in the productivity of the project.
A refresher on some basic first aid skills is a great way to spend a safety meeting a few times a year. While it is generally compulsory to have a person or people properly trained in first aid on-site at all times, basic skills can be imparted to every worker during toolbox talks and safety meetings so they have some idea of what to do while waiting for a first aid responder or medical professional.
Falling from a height is a fear for many people in general, not only construction workers. However, there are many more opportunities for it to happen on a construction job site than in most other professions. Safety meetings about fall protection, including issues like ladder safety, ensure that the risks and safety measures are at the front of everyone’s minds. They can also reassure workers that fall prevention is something taken seriously by management.
Meetings and toolbox talks are not just venues for getting safety-related messages across. Although, they are an effective and invaluable way of doing so. They also help site management to collect information straight from the source. They provide opportunities for discussion across all sections of the workforce. Done right, with the right topics, they contribute to a strong workplace safety record. Also, they allow for a robust safety culture with open communication and personal accountability by all workers.