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3 Types of Safety Meetings

3 Types of SAfety Meetings

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

One of the main pillars of any organization’s safety culture is communication. Without effective communication around safety, a tree care owner will not be able to intentionally create their desired safety culture. The best way to improve communication around safety within your company is by simply creating a structure or cadence to your safety meetings. Many tree care companies follow a safety meeting schedule similar to what I’ve outlined below, but if you haven’t put the formality to your meetings, hopefully this will help you do so. 

To keep things simple, I like to use 3 types of safety meetings when coaching tree care companies. 

Weekly – 20-40 mins with production/in-field team – Often called tailgate safety meetings, these weekly meetings are quick meetings focusing on one direct topic and are usually done at the start of the work day with your production or in-field team. They are not intended to be used as in-depth training sessions, but rather reminders to applicable job hazards that your team faces each day. There are plenty of resources on the internet for tailgate safety topics, however, one of my favorites is the TCIA’s Tailgate Safety Program. Have a sign-in sheet for each of these so you can document who was in attendance. 

Monthly – 1 to 2 hours with all employees – I feel it is very important for everyone in your company to gather together for a monthly safety meeting, including office staff and your sales team. These meetings should focus on broader safety topics that include near miss conversations, updates on progress of safety goals, upcoming season changes and other company-wide announcements. It is a great time to communicate items to the entire team and build camaraderie across departments. This meeting should be run by your safety committee and kept on task with a standard agenda that you use every time. 

Quarterly – ½ day or longer training – This is where the real training and employee development happens during regularly scheduled training time. It is too easy to get too busy and struggle with finding time to perform safety training, so block it out ahead of time. Utilize your safety committee to create topics and a schedule for the Quarterly meetings so they run efficiently and provide the most value to your team. Hiring outside trainers is a great way to enhance Quarterly meetings. 

 

Remember safety should not be viewed as an expense, but rather an investment as the dollars that your organization spends in lost time, decreased or interrupted productivity and insurance deductibles/premium after an accident all come directly out of your bottom line. If you ever want to look at the financial impact of an injury use OSHA’s Safety Pays website to see how much an injury actually will cost your company. It’s mind-blowing! 

If you are struggling with making your safety meetings worthwhile or how to improve upon the structure of your safety meetings, reach out to an ArboRisk team member today to get signed up for our Thrive Safety Package.

Tom Dunn

How to Get the Most Out of Your Safety Committee

How to GEt the Most Out of Your Safety Committee

Written by Eric Petersen, CIC

As you know, having a safety committee is a great way to intentionally create the desired safety culture for your company. It gives your team members some control and input around safety concerns that they face each day all while building company morale and hopefully limiting injuries and accidents. 

But are you really getting the most out of your committee? Here are my four tips to strengthen your safety committee. 

  • Create Committee Goals and Responsibilities – Have you clearly defined what you want the safety committee to do for your organization? Was your committee established because you had an accident in the past or because you’re scared of an accident in the future, maybe both? Below are some core responsibilities your safety committee should take charge of:
    • Reviewing your written safety program and implementation of safety policies.
    • Regular job site and equipment inspections.
    • Running safety meetings and analyzing incident/near miss data.
    • Addressing potential risks when providing new services.
    • Staying abreast of industry regulation and changes.

  • Involve The Right People – Making sure you have the right team is critical to ensuring the committee stays just that, committed. Diversity in your safety committee is paramount. Aim to have a committee that receives input from all aspects of your business. For example, you may have one foreman, one climber, one grounds crew member, one lift operator and one shop member all included.

  • Term Limits – Create a term limit for your committee and stick to it. Many times safety committees get stale because the same people have been on the committee for years and years. Establish a rule that each members will only be on the committee for a designated amount of time. This allows a committee member a certain amount of time to create action and provides the opportunity to involve more team members. Stagger the terms so that you always have fresh members joining the current committee. I recommend using two year terms. Two years is long enough to accomplish specific tasks, but short enough to keep it interesting for all members.

  • Rewards – Give incentives to the safety committee members. Everyone wants to feel rewarded for their hard work and being on a safety committee can add more responsibility and stress than their normal position. Set up a reward system that allows you to praise the committee for the procedural aspect of their role. This could be in a monetary bonus for every safety meeting held or additional time off for every job site inspection performed, get creative on what will motivate your safety committee members to do their absolute best. Remember that OSHA frowns upon safety programs that have an outcome-based incentive tied to them, meaning do not incentivize your team members based on the amount of injuries. Use concrete goals and procedures as your benchmark for the committee’s performance.

 

Remember that the ultimate goal of the safety committee is to strengthen the culture of safety within your organization so you can get every employee home safe each night. Empowering your team members with that goal is the surest way to succeed.

If you are struggling with creating or implementing a safety committee, contact ArboRisk today to get enrolled in our Thrive Safety Package. Our team of industry experts will work with you one-on-one to build a strong safety committee and culture within your organization.

Tom Dunn