Safety awareness programs create awareness of hazards and dangers, reduce near misses and accidents, reduce workers' compensation and insurance costs and educate managers and employees about safety issues. Safety incentives and safety meetings are essential to successful safety awareness programs. Safety incentives reward employees for following safety policies and procedures and not having accidents. Safety meetings focus attention on safety through consistent communication and shared action. Making safety meetings fun is not only productive, but an important factor in keeping everyone’s attention on safety.
Instead of a prepared agenda, make it a habit to have meeting attendees bring their top one or two safety issues and write them on a whiteboard or large sheet of easel paper. The group can quickly review them, rate them from highest to lowest importance, and deal with the top three first. Addressing the worst safety issues first frees the group to move on to safety training, recognition, incentives and any games or contests for a more enjoyable meeting experience.
Make a big impression on employees and other participants with enlargements. Take a picture of each safety incentive winner, blow the pictures up to poster size and post them in safety meetings. If cash rewards are part of your safety incentive program, create a large cardboard check to present during meetings. Use photos of accidents and safety hazards to enlarge and use during safety meetings during brainstorming and problem-solving. Have an oversized key made to award a “Key Safety Player” each meeting, who will hand over the key to the next winner at the next meeting.
Add mini-trainings or workshops to safety meetings and have attendees take turns training and teaching. Hold exams every three months to encourage retention and “certify” safety-conscious employees and management. Pass out “golden tickets” to meeting participants with a safety issue or safety question to be researched or defined by the next meeting to earn rewards. Make each meeting attendee a “safety specialist” in a certain area they research and present to the group at each meeting. Bring personal protective equipment to safety meetings for attendees to inspect, try on and learn about.
Have guest speakers participate in safety meetings. Occupational health providers, local fire fighters or paramedics, first aid trainers, safety consultants and workers' compensation insurance vendors all have some vested interest in your company’s safety record and have a lot of valuable information to share. Employees who have been involved in accidents or near-misses also have a lot of good input to bring to safety meetings.