Safety meetings are a good practice for every company to incorporate into their business. And, for construction trades working in Washington State, frequent safety meetings are required by law.
In this article, we’ll cover:
How to do a safety meeting
Ideas for safety meeting topics
Safety meetings in Washington State are required on every new construction project before any work begins, and then weekly from the second week of the project until it’s finished.
So, what if you have several new and in-progress jobs in one day?
Most companies will then be having several safety meetings that day as well. Some companies might hold a single meeting at Head Quarters, but remember, this single meeting has to discuss specific hazards at every job site where your workers will be active that day.
Since safety meetings are required by law, it’s important to keep your documentation. List the date, the safety topic you discussed, and who was in attendance. Keep your safety meeting documents for a least one year.
After every safety meeting, a copy of your documentation should be posted at the job-site for employees to refer to it and to see what topic was discussed.
It’s a good idea to make attendance at safety meetings mandatory. It’s also good to have employees sign an attendance sheet once they have completed a safety meeting. Safety meetings are considered training and a lack of training is often the cause of jobsite injuries.
Next, how do you hold your safety meeting?
There is no rule on how to hold your meeting. You can be as formal or informal as you’d like.
Some contractors hold their safety meeting at a regularly scheduled time first thing in the morning, with a typed out agenda and provide coffee. Others just gather their crew together, go over the safety topics, and take notes on a pad of paper. Just find what works best for your company and the job site.
General contractors and subs can also coordinate so all their workers attend together. The rule is that employees of the sub-contractor can attend the General Contractor’s meeting. This would satisfy the safety meeting requirement so long as the worker has access to the document and their names are listed on the attendance sheet.
If you are the sub-contractor, you should ask for a copy of the document for your company records.
Finally, lots of us get stuck on trying to come up with safety meeting topics, but it’s really pretty simple:
Just talk about what tasks you will be doing on the project that week and any potential risks that might be associated with those tasks. Talk about the risks how to avoid them.
For example, let’s say you need to install caution tape around a job site. At the safety meeting, hold up a roll of caution tape, discuss its specific use on the job, how to put it up correctly and when it is required. You could even demonstrate the correct application. That’s it! Now you have a safety topic covered!
Other ideas for safety meeting topics are:
Recent accidents or near misses that happened on the job-site
Proper use of equipment or handling material
Or refer to our ToolBox Talks emails. We provide free safety meeting topics every week.
If the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries issues your company a safety citation, you’ll definitely want to discuss the citation at your next safety meeting. Talk about what safety rule was broken and how to prevent it from happening again. Remember, this meeting is important to document. Your documentation will help you show that the problem has been addressed in order to attest that the hazard has been corrected.
So remember, hold your safety meetings at the beginning of every job, and weekly thereafter. The way you hold the meeting is up to you, but your general contractors might want to coordinate with subs and vice versa. Lastly, keep your topics relevant to your tasks and document, document, document!