24 Safety Moment Ideas for 2023 Preparedness
2023 is just around the corner. Prepare your company and your people for whatever the new year brings with these 24 ideas for “safety moment” meetings.
Training is one of the key elements of effective safety leadership. You need to establish a pattern of consistent communication, educating your company’s employees on the risks they face in the workplace and the best strategies to protect themselves.
Sometimes, this is easier said than done. Even the most engaged employees struggle to give safety meetings and training sessions their full attention. And research has found that most presentations lose audience attention within the first 10 minutes.
You need a way to integrate education into your organization’s daily activities without risking information overload. Enter the safety moment. Concise, direct, and easily digested, it’s an ideal way to share and reinforce critical safety information.
In this article, we’ll outline what safety moments are, how you can maximize them, and a variety of safety moment examples to help keep your people safe.
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What Is a Safety Moment?
Safety moments are brief talks about a specific, safety-oriented topic. Teams can approach these conversations in different ways to maximize the impact. But there are a few common aspects to most companies’ safety moments:
- Keep them short, usually lasting approximately five minutes and never more than 10
- Focus on a single topic, rather than jumping around or overloading participants with information
- Orient the safety moment toward your team’s upcoming day or week, not long-term planning
- Use safety moments to support a positive safety culture through clear, concise, and engaging communication
Safety moments vs. toolbox talks
You might have heard the term “toolbox talks” and wonder how they compare to safety moments. The tradition of toolbox talks may have begun on construction sites or similar worksites where there is a need to regularly brush up on equipment safety procedures. Today, this term is used in diverse workplaces, just as safety moments are used to establish regular informal discussions of actionable safety information.
In any case, the meaning of each of these terms is rooted in how teams use them—rather than strict definitions—and there is bound to be a wide variety of approaches to supporting safety outcomes for unique industries, organizations, and leadership teams.
Along with safety moments and toolbox talks, other common names include safety minutes, safety chats, and tailgate meetings. To choose an effective name, consider the tone and goals you’re aiming for—and the setting for your talks. What resonates for a roofing company may not resonate for an accounting firm.
Why are safety moments important?
Safety moments are a valuable tool to deliver or reinforce critical information. Topics can cover routine issues, but they’re also a great way to highlight timely hazards. Say, for example, your team is operating heavy machinery they haven’t worked with in a few months. A quick safety moment at the start of the day, covering the risks and precautions, can help make sure everyone is aware and prepared.
Safety moments are also a great way to encourage safety engagement. Routine safety training can sometimes feel abstract and easy to tune out. But since safety moments cover topics that are immediately relevant, employees are more likely to give their full attention and participation.
How and When to Integrate Safety Moments
The ideal frequency and format for safety moments vary by setting and industry. Companies with workers based mostly in offices will usually hold safety moments in conference or break rooms. And given the less hazardous environment, weekly safety moments may be sufficient. They can also be a great complement to your monthly safety topics.
Conversely, higher-risk workplaces like warehouses or construction sites might hold daily moments to reinforce salient points and help prepare workers for what they’re doing that day.
24 Safety Moment Ideas for 2023 and Beyond
To determine the most productive safety moment topics for your workplace, first perform a business threat assessment. No two organizations—or even worksites within an organization—face the same risks. Offices, kitchens, factories, and construction sites all have unique conditions that can impact your employees’ workplace safety. When you have a clear understanding of the hazards that might impact your people, you can plan for training sessions, including safety moments to address smaller safety topics or refreshers of more in-depth training.
Here are 24 safety moment ideas to improve general safety and inspire detailed presentations about the hazards in their work environments.
Universal safety moment topics
1. Situational awareness
One of the most important skills you can help your employees develop is situational awareness in the workplace. Spend a few minutes to emphasize the value of staying focused on the task at hand and being cognizant of surroundings to reinforce your broader situational awareness training programs. You can give actionable tips for minimizing distractions or reviewing a short safety checklist before putting full attention on a potentially hazardous task.
2. Emergency exits and routes
Every workplace must have clearly marked emergency exits. While safety moments can’t replace fire drills, they serve as a good reminder of where the nearest exit is and how to safely reach it. This brief check-in would also be a good time to make sure people are aware of where evacuation routes are posted for easy reference in various locations throughout the workplace.
3. Security and access control
Whether it’s accidental or intentional, someone’s presence where they shouldn’t be creates a workplace risk. Cover the security policies for the group you’re talking to, as well as protocols for reporting a breach.
4. Fire prevention and preparedness
Workplace fire prevention is a broad topic that you can break down into several fire safety moments. For example, you can discuss how to avoid fire hazards, where fire extinguishers are and how to use them, what each employee’s role is in case of a fire, and where to meet after evacuating.
5. The importance of proper rest
What happens at home can indirectly influence workplace hazards. Employees who don’t get enough rest can fatigue more easily and make mistakes, putting themselves and their coworkers at risk of injury. You can encourage sufficient rest for health and safety reasons and review workday break schedules to ensure people are taking advantage of chances to rest and recharge while on the job.
6. Parking lot safety
At the end of a workday, it can be tempting to stare at your phone, catching up on messages while you walk to the car. However, between trucks with poor visibility, distracted drivers, and potential threats lurking in dark corners, parking lots are full of hazards to be aware of. Review any risks particular to your parking areas and tips for staying aware, avoiding known hazards, and how to contact reliable assistance if needed.
7. Two-way communication with safety leaders
A two-way communication platform that includes mass notification and employee check-in functionality is key to any safety program. But it’s effective only if your team uses it properly. Review how and when employees should expect to receive notifications, as well as how to check in and report threats.
Industrial, warehouse, and construction environments
8. Personal protective equipment usage
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is part of many workers’ routines, but it’s often taken for granted. Periodic reminders about issues like properly fitting hard hats, hearing protection, and testing air filters and respirators could prevent serious injury.
9. Heat stress prevention
As OSHA prepares to release its first-ever set of heat regulations, it’s a good time to remind employees about the risks of heat exposure and heat exhaustion. Focus on prevention, early warning signs, and how workers can help keep each other safe in hot situations.
10. Forklift safety
Forklifts can be as dangerous for operators as they are for anyone in the vicinity. Discuss the rules for properly operating a forklift, such as speed and load limits, as well as the use of visual and audio cues to keep routes clear. A popular solution is to lay down brightly colored tape to designate driving lanes and no-go zones to keep pedestrians safe.
11. Heavy machinery
When someone spends long enough working with heavy machinery, the inherent danger can begin to feel routine. While experience is valuable, complacency is dangerous. Use safety briefings to remind workers of the risks and safety procedures to follow for each piece of equipment every time.
12. Hazardous materials and chemicals
Chemicals and other hazardous materials always present a risk, no matter how often your team may work with them. Review the specific risks and warnings of materials present in the workplace, and teach how to properly respond in the event of a spill or exposure.
13. Injury treatment and reporting
No matter how much effort you put into prevention, accidents happen. In the event of an injury, workers need to know where to seek out first aid, when to go straight to the hospital, and how to comply with OSHA incident reporting regulations.
Retail and hospitality
14. Avoiding slips, trips, and falls
Workplace injuries caused by slips, trips, and falls cause workers to miss an average of 14 days of work. Go over common hazards to watch for in your work environment, as well as the process for reporting and mitigating the risks.
15. Piling, stocking, and shelving hazards
Crowded aisles, tall stacks and full shelves can create potential hazards for employees and customers. Review how to properly store, stack, and display inventory, as well as good habits for avoiding cluttered emergency exit routes.
16. Safe lifting techniques
Standing for long periods of time can lead to back and leg injuries, especially when combined with bending over to lift objects. Provide frequent safety tips on good posture, the importance of appropriate footwear, and how to properly lift items to avoid injury.
17. Shoplifting and robbery protocols
If an employee faces theft or an armed robber, they need to know exactly how to handle the situation. A quick safety toolbox talk can refresh employees on what to do, how to protect themselves, and who to contact once everyone is safe.
18. Knife safety
There’s a common saying that a falling knife has no handle. Anyone who works in a kitchen has heard this a thousand times, but talking about how to properly handle and care for knives can help prevent an unfortunate injury.
19. Working with heat and flames
Hot surfaces and open flames from stoves, ovens, broilers, and deep fryers can all cause serious injuries. Quick safety talks focusing on each of these hazards can keep your kitchen staff aware of the risks and focused on doing their jobs safely.
Researchers estimate that cyberattacks happen an average of every 39 seconds. Reviewing how to avoid phishing scams, social engineering, and unsafe attachments could save your company from a costly and painful data breach or malware infection.
21. Electrical safety
Offices might seem safe compared to industrial settings, but anything that plugs in can be a hazard. Frayed cords, overloaded surge protectors, and malfunctioning kitchen equipment can all lead to fires, and your team should know how to identify and address these risks before a crisis develops.
22. Proper ergonomics
When you spend most of the day in front of a desk, you need a setup that’s easy on your body. Avoid repetitive stress injuries by discussing the details of proper ergonomics, including chair height and posture, desk height, monitor angle and orientation, and how to position keyboards and mice.
23. Eye strain
The more time someone spends staring at screens, the higher the risk of eye injuries. Going over ways to mitigate eye strain, such as screen filters and appropriate lighting, can help employees stay productive without impacting their vision.
24. The importance of regular breaks
Since sitting at a desk all day isn’t physically demanding, people might not think they need to take breaks. However, prolonged sitting can cause physical injuries, contribute to eye strain, and lead to mental fatigue. Remind employees not only to pause their work periodically but also to stand up and walk around for 5 to 10 minutes every hour.
Putting Safety Moments to Work
A consistent feedback loop of training, education, and practice is an essential component of a strong safety culture. Safety moments are a great way to complement more extensive and rigorous training programs, as they allow you to reinforce concepts on a more frequent basis.
In industrial settings, safety moments can set the tone for the day. Whether you’re reviewing a common topic or describing a new risk, an engaging discussion can get workers focused on keeping themselves and their peers safe. Five minutes every morning to ensure everyone goes home healthy and happy is time well spent.