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Workplace Safety


By August 1, 2011No Comments

If you aren’t starting each shift with a safety huddle, you might want to start. Safety huddles are an excellent way for employers to demonstrate their company’s commitment to safety and build a foundation for employee teamwork. A safety huddle is essentially a short safety meeting that involves workers examining a specific hazard or safety topic. Although there isn’t any set way to conduct a safety huddle, the following points should be included for the most effective safety huddle:

  • The topic, place, and time of the huddle should be clearly announced.
  • The meeting should begin promptly on schedule.
  • The details on why the huddle is being held should be explained.
  • The topic shouldn’t get sidetracked with issues not relative to the huddle topic. If an important off-subject topic is brought up by a worker, then it should have a separate huddle meeting at a later time. However, do make sure that the topic actually gets addressed later.
  • Time should be allotted for discussion and questions. Contact your safety representative if the answer to a question is unknown. Never make a guess.
  • The time shouldn’t be spent solely focusing on problem areas and things being done wrong, as workers often have a desire for approval. In other words, be sure to address what is being done right, too.
  • Use examples of real accidents, especially those that hit close to home, as an attention grabber and to back up safety points and regulations.

Who Leads A Safety Huddle? In most cases, a supervisor will take charge of the huddle. After all, the supervisor is responsible for understanding the various projects, the relative hazards, and the employees working on the projects. However, another responsible worker that would take the safety huddle seriously, and isn’t hesitant to speak in front of his/her coworkers could be capable of conducting safety huddles as well.

What Should A Safety Huddle Discuss? A safety huddle should take place at the beginning of each shift and discuss issues such as:

  • Known and potential hazards of new projects.
  • Any general problem associated with off or on-job safety.
  • Any time an accident or close call occurs; be sure to address what caused it and corrective actions.
  • Known or potential job hazards with an overview of the applicable safety rules that help prevent hazards from becoming accidents.

How Long Should A Safety Huddle Last? Given a well-chosen topic, standing workers, and a group that’s able to stay focused and on track, it should only last ten minutes or less. Of course, some topics will be more important or complicated and need longer than ten minutes to be properly addressed. In this case, you might hold the safety huddle in an area that is away from distractions and allows workers to sit down, or break the topic into a series of huddles.

What Size Should A Safety Huddle Be? Try to limit the huddle to ten workers, as larger huddles often make it hard for all the workers to get a chance to actively participate in such a limited amount of time.