Safety Culture

6 Ways To Add Life To Your Safety Meetings

How To Identify Disengaged Workers

By Amanda Willard

Most people think safety meetings are boring, and often, unproductive. The result is lack-luster attendance and, even if attended, involvement is minimal. So, how do you get more out of your safety meetings? These ideas by SafetySmart™ might help:

1.      Spice up the Safety Meeting Agenda: If you want to inject life into a safety meeting, start with the agenda. Think of it not as a list of “safety topics to be addressed,” but as an invitation to participate. Who doesn’t like being invited to a party?swingset conference table
 The “party” part is part of the reason. But so is the fact that you get invited. Meetings, too, can be less of a dread if you’re issued an invitation.

Tinker around with the format of your agenda-invitation. For example, why not include an interesting fact, quote, or question related to one of the meeting topics? Some managers occasionally use humorous cards to call a meeting. It’s a small gesture, but it helps dispel the boredom.

2.      Slay a Sacred (Meeting) Cow: Roger Von Oech writes in his best-selling book, “A Whack on the Side of the Head,” that, “some rules are so successful that they become immune to criticism. These are the ‘sacred cows.’ As a result, people are afraid to challenge them.”

There are sacred cows about meetings. One of the best things you can do is slay them. Consider the following possibilities:

Must you have the meeting in a conference room? Why can’t you have it in a hallway, or at a table outdoors, or even inside a van?

Are you the chairperson for the safety committee? So what? Let someone else take a turn at chairing the meeting.

  • If you provide refreshments, are they always the same – coffee, donuts and juice? The coffee may be required fare, but try replacing the donuts with ice cream or some other tasty treat now and then.


These first two tips are fairly conservative. What I’m about to suggest next requires a little more gumption. These are the suggestions that some might avoid for fear of appearing foolish or unprofessional. But if you’ve got the guts, you should try them.

3.      Show Some Enthusiasm: Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart and one of the wealthiest men in America, began every company meeting with a cheer. “Give me a W… give me an A… give me an L.,” he would joyously shout until “Wal-Mart” was spelled out.
You don’t need to jump and cheer. But you should show some enthusiasm and get attendees involved as much as possible.

4.      Hold Super-Short Meetings Now and Then: Many safety meetings are too long. Here’s a challenge: See if you can cover all the business in your weekly staff meeting in 11 minutes – just to prove to yourself that it can be done.

One reason safety leaders balk at shortening meetings is the fear of making bad decisions. The occasional short meeting can result in sound decision-making. Evidence insists that those who rely on intuition in their decision-making make more profitable decisions than those who don’t.

How do you create meetings that are more intuitive? By simply not allowing every item needing a decision to get bogged down in details. Set a short time limit on decision-making items. Then move them along quickly.

Adding life to your safety meetings can mean the difference between an attentive participants and disengaged listeners. To read more from SafetySmart™, click here

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