Safety First - Five Reasons to Hold a Routine Safety Meeting

Workplace safety is important to all businesses for ethical, legal and financial reasons. Keeping employees safe from injury is the right thing to do, it also keeps a business away from civil litigation and can lower costly compensation claims.

Many larger companies are establishing full-time safety coordinators whose job is solely devoted to safety issues. Smaller companies can assign competent people to dedicate a small portion of time instilling good safety habits in employees.

Here are five good reasons to hold a short monthly safety meeting with a well-defined agenda.

1) Commitment - For workers to take safety issues seriously, the business must take it seriously first. Change flows from the top. Holding a routine meeting to highlight safety policies and concerns will demonstrate the company's commitment to minimizing hazardous unsafe behavior.

2) Awareness? Employees can't obey policies they don't know about. Tackling issues in public with handouts and short tests will enhance workplace knowledge on what is safe and unsafe activity. Many accidents happen because someone is just not paying attention. Elevating employee awareness is the first step to prevention.

3) Teamwork ? Cooperation is the key to success. By teaching safety and offering incentives for safe track records, and discipline for unsafe practices, employees will work together to create a safe environment. A corporate culture of safety-mindedness will develop and become second nature. For example, in a retail office environment, when employees take unnecessary risks, others will gently remind them to close unattended file drawers, get a ladder instead of standing on a chair, ask for help when lifting something heavy etc.

4) Training ? Do your employees know what to do in case of emergency? If there's a fire, do they know how to evacuate and where to meet? Are there people assigned to make sure all persons are accounted for after an evacuation? Does everyone understand the procedure when an injury occurs? Training will bring about confident employees who are prepared should an emergency arise.

5) Savings ? A safe workplace is a cost effective work place. When office workers are typing properly, repetitive motion claims are reduced. When box clerks are lifting properly, back injuries are less likely. Efforts at producing a safer workplace will pay off in spades with lower workmen's comp insurance premiums, reduced liability exposure, greater productivity and the expense of hiring new or temporary employees to replace injured ones.

"Safety First": we've all heard it; you can show your employees that you mean it. Invest in their safety by developing safety policies and teaching them what is expected.

Rick David writes for a Merchant Newsletter @ Merchant America. He also writes a humor column called, "Don't Laugh It Could Happen To You" for http://sandiego.merchantamerica.com.

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