Some people who are being asked to do safety presentations feel fear at the thought of speaking in front of an audience. However, if it is part of their job, they have no choice but to do it. The good thing is that they do not actually have to be a professional speaker to present an effective safety meeting. They simply need to do some planning.
When holding a safety meeting, make sure that the place is comfortable for everyone, somewhere away from any distractions. The listeners will not focus when the environment is noisy or the place is too cold or too hot. However, do not let them be too comfortable as they may fall asleep and they will fail to catch the message. In most cases, it is a good idea to conduct regular safety presentations at the same place and time. However, if the safety manager will discuss a specific kind of equipment, consider gathering the employees near it.
The other important thing is the time when the safety meeting should be held. It must be a time that does not interrupt any work activity and when everybody can be attentive. The start of the day, before work begins, can be a good time. If this time is not suitable, conduct the meeting before or after lunch or break. The end of the shift is not the right time as everyone is thinking about just getting off work.
The choice of topic for a safety meeting must be relevant to the function of the employees. Some topics are for employees in specialized jobs but there are topics that are appropriate for any kind of business. “Safe Housekeeping” is a topic for everyone as it tackles safety in general such as fire safety and safe lifting.
When holding safety meetings, the manager should be specific and stick with one or only a few topics that need immediate attention. Talking aimlessly can certainly lose the attention of the employees.
Preparing for Safety Presentations
The opening, content, and closing of a safety presentation must be planned. Most safety managers just focus on the content of the presentation. However, starting the meeting with a powerful opening can make a session more enjoyable and productive.
It is also important to discuss the incidents from personal experience relevant to the chosen topic. Take note of the suggestions of other supervisors regarding what other safety issues should be included in the meeting.
Props or visual aids can also help so make sure to prepare them. The best way to convey the message in a safety training is to “show and tell.” It is also easier for most people to remember things when they see them as opposed to when they only hear them. If the topic is about hazardous or defective hand tools, the safety presenter can show some samples. If the meeting is about handling steel drums properly, a demonstration must be done. The safety manager can demonstrate it or the employees can participate by following the instructions from the presenter. Pictures, charts and other visual aids can be helpful as well, given that they are big enough so everyone can see them clearly.
By all means, let the employees participate and encourage them to ask questions during safety presentations. For instance, the safety manager can start the meeting by talking about an accident and then asking for opinions from the employees on how it could have been avoided. However, it is important that the meeting is always on track and not out of control. The safety manager must answer them when they ask relevant questions. However, if there is a hanging question, the manager must make sure he will find the answer and get back to team.