Running a Safety Meeting


Learn the art of running an effective safety meeting that encourages open discussions, appreciates safety compliance, rotates members for diverse opinions, and engages new hires, with the goal of building a stronger safety culture.

One of the best tools for building a positive safety culture is holding regular safety meetings, on a monthly, bi-monthly, or weekly basis. There are a few keys to having a successful safety meeting that changes behavior and positively impacts your workplace safety culture.

The goal of a safety meeting is to get your team to talk openly about their experiences. A great Safety Champion will “open the floor” and act primarily as a facilitator. Tell your team you’re there to take notes, and this is their opportunity to talk freely without any fear of retaliation. Your team will feel empowered when they get to drive the conversation. Go around the room and ask everybody to make a comment or observation related to safety. Assure them you’ll do everything in your power to make sure their concerns get addressed. 

Keep notes and take “minutes.” At the start of each meeting, you can recap key issues from the previous meeting so everyone is “caught up.” Using data from the Voxel dashboard, spend a few minutes to review critical safety incidents that took place since the last meeting, and give kudos for positive trends in safety compliance. Then, turn the meeting over to the team.

Take attendance and pass around a sign-up sheet to keep track of who’s attending the meetings. It’s important to rotate employees in at every meeting. If you have the same person in every meeting doing all the talking, you may lose the interest of the group. Diversity of opinions will help create a productive conversation: if you have a mix of introverts and extroverts, leaders and non-leaders, veterans and new hires, you'll get a wide range of opinions that will help you figure out core safety priorities and set the agenda for new safety initiatives. 

Bring some snacks and refreshments, and try to fill the safety meetings with mostly hourly workers. If your safety meeting is attended by mostly salary workers, then nobody will feel comfortable to talk—everyone’s afraid of being disciplined or getting fired for stepping out of line. Plus, hourly workers will be happy to get paid for time off the floor, eating snacks. 

Introduce a guest speaker at each meeting. It’s good to always have somebody representing the union present at the meeting. Bring in maintenance staff, because they’re responsible for making sure everything’s working properly. If somebody in management is present, you can pass along an associate’s concerns directly during the meeting, so they see that their voice is being heard.

All new hires should be mandated to attend safety meetings, so they can learn from their teammates. Make sure at each meeting you help junior members identify the key safety leaders among the senior team members, so everyone knows who they should reach out to when they’re having issues. 

Take some time at the end of the meeting to communicate about safety rewards that impact employees directly: if you saved money by bringing incidents down, get some feedback on how that money should be spent to make your workplace better for everybody.

Major 🔑s to Success:

  • Talk openly: encourage your team to speak freely without fear of retaliation. Demonstrate that you’ll do everything in your power to address their concerns.
  • Keep notes and review: take “minutes” and review the previous minutes at the start of each meeting.
  • Give props: Go over all critical safety incidents that took place since the past meeting and spend time giving kudos for positive trends in safety compliance
  • Rotate employees: diversity of opinions will help create a productive conversation. Make sure the meetings are attended mostly by hourly workers.
  • New hires attendance: every new employee should be required to attend every safety meeting. Help them identify senior team members they can come to with questions.
  • Brainstorm rewards: Get feedback on your safety rewards program and figure out what kind of stuff your team wants as incentives for safety performance.