This is for those of you currently working for either a supermarket, department, discount store, or fast-food restaurant chain. Whether this is just a temporary gig for you or the stepping stone to a career path within that corporation chances are your bosses haven’t told you how to conduct a safety meeting.
As we’ve said before it’s not really their fault with the constant turnover of employees as well as store managers who are generally underpaid in the first place for long hours but second have to handle massive daily responsibilities, so they could never get around to telling you about those leaflets that come in the corporate mail pouch once a month.
Each month, someone in corporate picks a topic (usually from the same list they’ve been using for the last 30 years. February is always hearing protection and March fire extinguishers) and generates the associated propaganda with talking points and handouts for you to give and cover with the staff at your monthly safety meeting. Monthly? Yes they should be given monthly but the reality is corporate probably couldn’t care less if the meetings are conducted on a regular basis but if that day comes along and IT happens at work and someone gets hurt be aware when you know what hits the fan the corporate lawyers will say the company takes safety seriously and training is important and then throw whoever is in charge under the bus and that could be you!
Don’t panic. You can take control of the situation. Conducting a safety meeting is easier than you think.
1- Get prepared. After you know the topic to be covered read the handout and study the talking points. Does it make sense to you? If you’re not sure google the topic. Now make notes for yourself that’ll help you with the presentation and any particular area you want to stress. This is all critical for your credibility. as the manager. Also prepare a sign-in sheet with the topic to be covered at the top, the date of the meeting and a list of all employees in alphabetical order with an area that they can sign their names and then attach one of the handouts to it and keep for your records.
2- Pick a day and time(s). You know the ebbs and flows of the business better than anyone and the slowest days are the best to do safety meetings. Schedule the day and stick to it! Don’t put it off or keep making excuses as to why you put it off otherwise you’ll soon find it to easy to come up with an excuse to continue pushing it back and your staff will think you don’t take safety seriously so why should they. You need to set the example so do it the day you scheduled it.
3- How do I have everyone attend with different working schedules? This is why you want to do this on a slow day. You’ll have to stagger the meetings so you can cover half the staff at the first session and the rest of them at the second session. If there are still a few individuals that were not able to attend either session just give them a personalized safety meeting. I’ve had to do this a few times, one on one where I covered the bullet points with the person, asked if they had questions, discussed for a minute so I knew they understood, had them sign the meeting attendance sheet, and done. If a video needs to be watched as part of the month’s meeting handle it the same way, just stagger the viewing times. Yes, it’s a little more work on your part, but it’s time well spent and even the short-term workers will appreciate that you care.
Back at Corporate Headquarters, everything is status quo as long as money is being made and to ensure that nothing interrupts that cash flow. They’re prepared, budgeted for and ready to deal with any public relations issues that may pop up due to lack of training which continues to be a hidden problem with the potential for a very bad ending. Protect your staff and they will take care of you.