The enemy of today’s construction industry is a labor shortage that is touching every company in America. Skilled employees are the most valuable and coveted part of the industry, and in order to protect our families we need to build a lasting culture that centers around the safety of our people rather than complying with regulations.
“Basic safety is protecting people, and getting employees actively aware,” says Jim Goss, HCSS Senior Safety Consultant. “If you take care of the people, the compliance will be there.”
We begin taking care of our people by getting everyone involved. Start each day with concise and purposeful safety meetings. “Safety meetings give us the first opportunity to make impact,” says Jim. “These meetings are a chance for the company to communicate to employees how they can do their jobs safer and better, and allow employees to relay safety health concerns or improvement ideas to their supervisors.” The greatest benefit to increased communication is a cohesive unit with a heightened awareness for each other and the environment they are working in.
What is the purpose of holding a safety meeting? In one word: Communication.
Our Construction employees need to have a two-way path of communication that can give them ownership, responsibility, and added value to their position. They are the eyes and ears of the job site. What they can communicate to the higher ups and to each other daily will save lives. The more that each employee is aware of the hazards of their environment, and own a responsibility for each other, the quicker issues can be corrected and people will not be at risk.
The harsh reality of safety meetings is that these documents are used in construction litigation more than any other document. Lawyers will look for every opportunity of negligence, and a lack of documentation can only make matters worse. A positive safety culture will support open communication between employees and supervisors that encourages documentation of each meeting. Good record keeping will allow others (even those not on the job site) to see potential issues, and the right action can be taken before anything bad can happen. Over time, these good habits will yield safer job sites, a stronger and loyal workforce, and the peace of mind that you did everything you could to make sure your people could do their jobs well, and go home safely.
Here are 5 Best Practice Tips for Successful Meetings
- Start each day with a daily huddle. A good pattern would be 5 minutes in the morning, and 2 minutes in the afternoon. The best time to schedule a safety meeting is in the beginning of the work shift.
- Start your meetings on time, every time. If you create a regimen that your employees can count on, and that you require, you will get their attention. Safety meetings can be used for a stand down, all-hands meetings, and project safety meetings.
- Safety meetings will help keep awareness of safety issues in the forefront so everything covered is relevant to your employees. Keep people talking about it. Voice concerns and provide opportunities to say what is wrong.
- Attach photos to the meeting of who attended, and any documents discussed. Smart devices can geotag images with the exact location of the photo along with time and date. This information stays with the image, and can be printed with reports.
- Make the meetings relevant to the job and the day, and document the process to prove that you did it. This is the part that puts you in compliance. If you are ever asked what you do in your meetings, you can provide a thorough response with documentation.
Resources that we have to help:
- Our HCSS Academy is filling up with new resources about safety. Click Here to see the curriculum.
- Our Support help has many troubleshooting and How-to articles to browse through that were created from actual support cases. We also post our past webinars here as well.
- Software for Safety Managers
If you have a great story about your company being changed by a strong safety culture that you’d like to share, please feel free to comment below or send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Andreas Gnau says
Hello. The Safety Meetings are Your First Line of Defense article is very well written and useful.
🙂 Thank you!