If your company holds regular tailgate safety meetings before each shift or on a weekly basis then these topics will help you come up with some ideas that you can build those talks around and that relate specifically to your company. They can also be used if your company puts out a weekly or monthly newsletter. Pick one each time and have a brief explanation and information.
All work environments are different so you should choose the topics that are relevant to your company and your workers and customize them. Remember...pick 1 topic at a time and keep it short, simple and to the point. This will ensure the best learning out come and better retention for all your participants.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements – If your company requires the use of PPE than you should use this topic to ensure the all workers know it is mandatory and also what type of PPE is required in all areas of your workplace. You can also talk about your workers inspecting their specific PPE and how to recognize when it needs replacing. This can include PPE for hearing, eye protection, hardhats, work boots etc.
- Cold weather safety – Working in cold weather can present numerous safety problems, from frostbite to hypothermia, the results can be disastrous if not properly trained on not only prevention methods but also how to spot the early signs and take appropriate actions to minimize any damage.
- Emergency preparedness - Emergencies can take the form in many different ways, from natural disasters to accidents to chemical spills in the workplace. Make sure that all your employees know the procedures and their roles should they encounter an emergency of any type. A great way to prepare your employees is to have them go through a mock emergency scenario. By doing, it is proven that the retention rate is considerably higher than by just listening.
- Evacuation procedures - Whether it is an evacuation for fire, chemical spill or anything else that requires your employees to leave the premises, make sure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities, the safe route out and the meeting place that is a safe distance away so that all employees can be accounted for.
- Hand washing guidelines – Proper hand washing can help stop the spread of germs throughout your workplace. Ensuring that all employees understand the importance of proper hand washing will help them follow through. Posting proper handwashing techniques on the bathroom mirrors will be helpful reminders and also having hand sanitizers located through the workplace.
- Proper computer screen, chair, desk and office equipment positioning – By making sure that all office equipment is ergonomically correct you can minimize the potential of injuries such as repetitive motion injury and also slips, trips and falls as people move throughout the office environment.
- Tips to minimize slips, trips and falls – This is one of the most common injuries that affects thousands of workers in almost every industry. 17% of all the "time-loss injuries" are a direct result of slips, trips and falls that can be prevented. Make sure your employees understand the importance of keeping a clean and tidy workstation for their safety as well as those around them. Cover the potential hazards that are specific to your workplace such as; liquid spills on the floor, uneven flooring, improper footwear, poor lighting and many more.
- Chemical safety tips – Every workplace has chemicals that are used. Some are very hazardous on their own and some are deadly and volatile if mixed with other chemicals. Every worker should be formerly trained on WHMIS 2015 no matter what type of industry. They should also run through a refresher training every year. This is a great topic to include in your regular safety talks as a reminder of the importance and keep it top on mind.
- Job site safety – Go over the procedure to inspect a new job site to ensure that any hazards found are taken care of before any work begins. Especially useful in, but not limited to, the construction industry because of the vast amount of hazards that can be present. A great tool to use is our Hazard Recognition Form. Your employees should know the proper procedure to report any found hazards and the steps to eliminate them.
- Plant/warehouse safety – Going over your safety policies and procedures can mitigate potential incidents and accidents. Pedestrian safety within the plant or warehouse for workers and also any outside visitors is paramount to eliminating future events. Things such as walking within the proper marked walkways, paying attention to the machinery around, making eye contact with forklift drivers before proceeding, potential overhead hazards and many more.
- Proper procedure for reporting safety concerns – Every worker has the right to refuse to perform the work if they feel it is not being done in a safe matter and threatens their safety or those around them. Work refusals can be minimized if the proper lane of communication is established and known throughout the workplace. Make sure that workers know where/who to report any safety hazards or concerns and be sure that each concern is addressed and taken care of.
- Material handling for safe lifting – Improper lifting causes thousands of back injuries every year and a lot of lost time. By providing a demonstration of proper lifting techniques along with tips to help employees understand the importance in proper lifting can go a long way in minimizing these type of injuries.
- Lockout/tagout (LOTO) guidelines – LOTO does not apply to every industry but it is very important for those that use any type of machinery or equipment that has to be worked on or regularly or maintained by your employees. Employees should go through formal LOTO training every 3 years by a reputable H&S training company. This is another great topic to include in your safety talks to also keep it top of mind and remind people the ramifications of not using the procedure correctly which can result in a fatality.
- Contact numbers for local law enforcement and the fire department – All emergency contact information is required to be posted on your Health & Safety board. Numbers such as police, fire department, utilities contractor, Ministry of Labour and many more. See what the MOL requires on every H&S board.
- Safety training requirements – Most every type of safety training that people go through has an expiry date. Some are yearly such as WHMIS and others are 3 years such as forklift operators, overhead crane, aerial lift, confined spaces, first aid and many more. Some are required by law such as a Joint Health & Safety Committee for all companies with 20 or more regular workers. A J HSC is also required by any company that has one or more of the designated substances, no matter how many workers they employ. The safety coordinator should keep track of all the training that has been completed but often some can slip through the cracks. Let your employees know who to contact should they require some specific training. This should be thought of as an investment in you workforce. By providing proper training, this will increase moral, production and over safety environment at your workplace.
- Safety policy reminders – You can go through your own safety policies and procedures that will be specific to your workplace. Chose a couple to run through for each safety talk and help employees understand the ‘WHY’ so that they understand the importance of each.
- Workplace violence & harassment + sexual harassment policy reminders – This is an ever growing problem in virtually every type of workplace, from offices to restaurant to plants and warehouses. Make sure your policy is up to date with the new addition of the sexual harassment that became law on September 8, 2016. The talk should include the contact person to report any issues to and also an alternate person if the accused is the perpetrator.
Customize the safety tips for your audience and workplace.
Obviously, you want to choose the topics that are most relevant to your workers and workplace. By having regular safety talks you are reinforcing the overall safety culture throughout your company. Running employees through demonstrations whenever possible ensure the best learning outcomes. You can easily keep your H&S on track with our 'Continuous Improvement Plan' checklist.
Having senior level management attend and take part in the meeting goes along in showing that each and every employee is a valued part of the company.