By K C Pawling, Road Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist

Last month in my safety short article, I talked about the challenges we may have to overcome while we are having or trying to have safety meetings. Challenges may include getting the support needed from senior leadership, keeping all generations of the workforce engaged, and even finding the time for safety meetings.

We are always going to have some safety meeting challenges. We are also going to make mistakes. Safety meeting mistakes are going to happen in any safety program, but hopefully we are learning from them. The National Safety Council’s magazine Safety+Health shared a few mistakes that safety professionals have made, so that we are able to learn from other’s mistakes. Here are some of those mistakes, and some of my own:

  • Do not assume others see facts the way you do. You may need to present the information you want to communicate in a different manner. Some people identify with statistics while others would rather have the information presented in a funny, entertaining manner. Use a combination of presentation styles but keep it simple, do not overcomplicate the messages.
  • Make sure the training is relevant to your work. This one may sound simple, but sometimes we get so focused on the topic, or we are just trying to check boxes of having safety meetings, that we lose sight of relevance. We do not want to present slips trips and falls in the office setting to the road department, you are surely going to lose the audience. Convert the information to road department relevant scenarios.
  • Training is too long. This is a tough one, as some topics just must be longer to cover all the material needed for the training. But try to keep them abbreviated. Keep the topics shorter, if possible, counter this with having safety meetings more often.
  • Too many topics. This one kind of goes together with the earlier mistake. You may need to have more frequent safety meetings rather than overwhelming the employees with topics.
  • Be more organic while delivering the information. Just reading from a PowerPoint or other material is not going to be effective. Slow down, use examples, expose yourself and share your experiences. People will respond to your experiences.
  • Do not just preach. You may be able to incorporate some hands-on activities or demonstrations.
  • Slow down. You may need to slow down and allow discussion of the topic. Give employees a chance to share their experiences or concerns. It is about them and their safety.

In closing, I am going to say this. Do not assume people are going to do better because they know better. We are human and we are always going to take the easier softer way of doing things, which does not necessarily mean the safer way. Try not to be confrontational, function as an advocate more than an enforcer, but keep in mind that you may need to hold someone accountable for reoccurring incidents. Give your group a reason that they should be working safer. Family is usually a reason everyone can understand why they should be working more safely. Do not forget to have a little fun too!

Keep in mind that our loss prevention staff here at NIRMA are here to help with your safety meetings. If I can help in any way, do not hesitate to contact me at or 402-310-4417.