Whether you are tasked with managing a small or medium-sized manufacturing facility or own one, safety must always be one of your highest priorities.
While there are many ways to enhance workplace safety, holding regular safety meetings is one of the most effective strategies. However, many leaders are not sure where to begin when it comes to incorporating safety meetings into their overall safety plan.
To help, we have outlined some basic information every small and medium-sized manufacturer (SMM) should know, including OSHA safety meeting requirements in California, key benefits, and some pointers for hosting a successful safety meeting.
What is a Safety Meeting?
Safety meetings are scheduled gatherings that allow you and your staff to discuss the safety risks in their work environment and guidelines for mitigating risk. Every topic you discuss should be relevant and applicable to their everyday work.
Regular safety meetings also present a great opportunity to update your staff on new or emerging regulations within your industry and to give a refresher on existing regulations. Your staff should also be able to utilize safety meetings as a time to voice any concerns and make you aware of safety issues you might not be privy to.
Why Do SMMs Need to Prioritize Workplace Safety?
Before we dive into OSHA safety meeting requirements and our tips, it is important to understand why you should prioritize workplace safety in the first place.
Safety meetings and other safety efforts can reduce the risk of serious injuries or deaths in the workplace. In addition to saving lives, safety meetings can also help you protect business continuity by minimizing workers’ comp claims and insurance expenses.
As a result, organizations that prioritize safety also operate more efficiently. Even one workplace accident can severely injure an employee resulting in unnecessary human suffering, and interrupt business operations, translating to thousands of dollars in lost productivity and diminished team morale.
Consistent safety meetings can lay the foundation for other workplace safety initiatives. During a safety meeting, you can reinforce important best practices and create a strong workplace culture focused on preserving your staff's health.
CAL OSHA Safety Meeting Requirements
Safety meetings are not just a good idea — if your business has more than 10 employees, OSHA requires them. If you have 10 or fewer employees, you can choose to form a safety committee instead of holding safety meetings. Other OSHA safety meeting requirements include the following provisions:
Regularly Scheduled Meetings
According to OSHA regulations, if you elect to have a safety committee, you must meet at least quarterly. This rule applies regardless of the size of your organization.
Businesses with a low risk of on-the-job injuries can opt for quarterly safety meetings. However, SMMs and other high-risk companies must hold safety meetings once per month to comply with OSHA standards.
On Company Time
In addition to being held monthly, safety meetings must be hosted on company time. You can schedule safety meetings outside of normal hours as long as you are paying your staff regular wages for their time. For maximum engagement, however, we recommend hosting them during working hours, before your employees start their day.
Ideally, the entire staff should attend the safety meeting. However, this is not always possible. When everyone cannot make it to the safety meeting, ensure that at least one representative from each department attends so that they can relay the information back to their coworkers.
When you're planning your monthly gathering, you must choose relevant safety meeting topics. If the topics are not relevant to your workforce, workers are less likely to stay engaged during the meeting.
Safety meetings should also be held anytime you purchase new equipment or when industry regulations are amended to ensure everyone is on the same page when working conditions evolve.
Check out our recent blog to explore important safety meeting topics for the manufacturing industry.
Safety Meeting Benefits for SMMs
While safety meetings are mandatory, they also provide several benefits to you and your staff. By hosting regular safety meetings, you can:
Connect with the Workforce
Maintaining high levels of employee engagement will help you reduce turnover and maximize the productivity of your staff. Safety meetings are an excellent way to connect with your team because you will have the opportunity to speak with them about their biggest concerns.
In addition, your staff may have devised new ways of addressing organizational pain points or improving operational efficiency. Once you address key safety topics during your meeting, your staff can present their fresh ideas in this open forum.
Safety meetings will make your team feel heard and reveal some great insights for improving your business model — a win-win scenario.
Protect Financial Well-Being
Workplace accidents can cost lives and destroy your financial well-being. If you do not properly train your staff or you fail to host regular safety meetings, you expose yourself to significant civil liability.
Injured employees or their families might elect to file a civil suit against your company if workers were not properly trained on relevant safety topics and were injured as a result.
Investing in safety meetings and other safety initiatives is a smart money move. Doing so can protect business continuity, keep your staff safe, and help you to avoid incurring any major financial burdens.
Improve and Maintain Employee Morale
Any time an employee is injured at work, staff morale plummets. Fatal workplace accidents are especially damaging to staff morale. Individuals who witnessed the incident may need counseling or extended time off of work, which will also impact productivity.
Some employees may elect to leave the company altogether if they are concerned that working conditions have become too hazardous.
When you prioritize creating a good workplace safety culture, productivity can go up by as much as 24%. More importantly, you can help keep your staff safe and let them know that you are genuinely concerned about their well-being.
How to Conduct an Effective Safety Meeting
When planning a safety meeting, you should focus on four core best practices:
1. Keep It Relevant
Choosing relevant safety meeting topics is the first step to keeping your team engaged and helping them work smarter. Avoid going off-topic unless it is in response to a staff member’s inquiry.
2. Leave Time for Questions
At the end of every safety meeting, open the floor for questions from your staff. Allow the team to express concerns regarding current safety protocols. Safety meetings shouldn’t feel like a lecture.
3. Discuss Recent Events
If a staff member has recently suffered an injury, discuss it at the upcoming safety meeting while staying mindful of privacy laws and not revealing any confidential employee information. As previously mentioned, when someone gets hurt on the job, it’s critical to regroup with your employees to discuss what happened, how similar incidents can be avoided, and what your company plans to do to rectify the issue.
4. Use Visually Engaging Resources
Follow adult learning best practices and utilize resources such as training videos, slideshows, or handouts to deliver your messaging more effectively and engage your audience. This approach is particularly useful for informing staff about new OSHA regulations or explaining new equipment because it makes concepts less theoretical with the addition of real-world context.
How CMTC Can Help SMMs with Effective Safety Management
If you need assistance enhancing your safety culture and strategies, CMTC can help.
We have extensive expertise in the workplace safety sector and partner with SMMs to provide them with enterprise-level health and safety resources to help them keep their staff safe.
Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in overcoming your biggest safety pain points.
About the Author
Gregg Profozich is a manufacturing, operations and technology executive who believes that manufacturing is the key creator of wealth in the economy and that a strong manufacturing sector is critical to our nation’s prosperity and security now, and for future generations. Across his 20-year plus career in manufacturing, operations and technology consulting, Mr. Profozich helped manufacturing companies from the Fortune 500 to the small, independents significantly improve their productivity and competitiveness.