How Good Are Your Safety Meetings?
There are so many requirements for compliance under the regulations that we need to be involved in as safety professionals. One of those things is safety committees and regular safety committee meetings. Top level support at these meetings is very important. To have an effective participation level, there must be an accountability for attendance. “If the boss is there everyone is there.” It’s a reality that we are all very busy people, and another meeting can become just another meeting, so how do we make the safety meeting special?
First, it’s a commitment to the safety process. Second, an effective committee has involvement on all levels. Having input from people who are doing the work gives a real perspective to the process. Third, rotating membership annually provides a fresh look at the program for more people. Fourth, providing monthly information on safety performance and celebrating successes is a vital part of the process. Fifth, being effective in creating visual examples of safety performance, successes and failures, establishes measurements that can be acted on. Sixth is creating an opportunity for change.
A platform for change can be useful. One thing that works well is to identify what’s working and keep doing it, what’s not working and what needs to be done to fix what’s not working, and what can we do to make things better. It’s called START, (start something good), STOP,(stop doing anything not contributing to the success of the program), and CONTINUE, (keep doing those things that have a positive influence on the safety process).
Every member has a chance to contribute to each one of the categories and visually listing those suggestions create an opportunity for the group to focus on the items that have the greatest impact and that can be completed before the next monthly meeting. Each item has a person or group assigned to it and that person or group reports the completed item at the next meeting. Each safety meeting is scored by the members 1-10, 10 being the best. Opportunities for suggestions or criticism or positive comments are provided. Meeting results are shared with the company and recorded.
Safety committee meetings can be routine and, “Just another meeting”. But if the process is effective and the program is solid, the safety meeting will be an event that is anticipated and supported. The best evidence of an effective safety committee is the willingness of people to want to be part of the process.