We all want our WHS arrangements to work smoothly and effectively. One of the biggest challenges can come when it’s time to have a safety meeting.
Often we can find some resistance to the meeting or we may even put up some barriers ourselves that stop it from being effective. (Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?)
What is an effective safety meeting?
Put simply it’s one where you can communicate clearly with your workers and they can be comfortable giving you feedback about how things are really going.
There are many tactics you can employ to ensure the effectiveness of your safety meetings and get around any resistance.
GET THE RIGHT SETTING
Pick the right location for your meeting. It needs to be in an environment where both you and your workers can communicate easily and clearly. It should be somewhere away from noisy equipment. Depending on your workplace, you may be able to use a meeting room. However you may find that some workers feel uncomfortable in such a formal area. You may find it more effective to hold the meeting in a lunch room or in the work area itself if it’s quiet enough.
KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
There’s nothing worse than a meeting with no purpose and everyone in attendance can feel it. If people feel that the meeting is dragging on or isn’t achieving anything they will just shut off.
To avoid this you should know what you want to accomplish as far in advance as possible and at least before you post the meeting invitation. The invitation should clearly state the reason for the meeting and how long it’s expected to take.
Having an agenda can help, but limit it to 2 or 3 key objectives per meeting. Not only does this give proper time to consider each item but it helps keep meetings to a reasonable length.
Having a note taker for the meeting provides several clear benefits. The first is that each decision is recorded as it’s made. This means that nothing is forgotten. You can also record the input of everyone. This provides you with valuable information when taking action after the meeting.
A second advantage of a good note taker is that they can record any new items for follow up later. This means that rather than get distracted by an item that is important, but not on the agenda, you can stay focused on the purpose of the meeting. Then at a later time you can…
This is one of the most important things to do to make your meetings effective. If your meetings get a reputation for just being a talk fest with nothing practical coming out of them, this will discourage participation. Even worse if you agree to take action and nothing happens they can even foster a feeling that your WHS arrangements aren’t important!
Use the notes you have to take practical steps. If management and workers both see real progress being made as a result of the meeting, they will value the meetings more and engage more with your agenda.
This takes time but it’s one of the most valuable things you can do to ensure an effective safety meeting.
Got any other tips for running an effective safety meeting?