How To Conduct a Good and Effective Safety Meeting

Posted by admin on 9/17/2015

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These are some characteristics of a good and effective safety meeting:

  • Speaker is effective and clearly understood
  • Adequate time is allotted for the meeting.
  • Speaker rehearses beforehand
  • Audience pays attention
  • The room where the safety meeting is conducted is free of background noises and other interruptions

A lot of these characteristics are the responsibility of the speaker, and it is important to have someone who is comfortable with public speaking, and someone who is knowledgeable about the subject matter or is willing to devote time to study the subject matter. It’s also important to pick a quiet location for the meeting which is free of background noises. You don’t want to be in a position where there is a lot of traffic, telephones, and other noises that can distract your audience. You want to encourage your audience members to actively participate in the meeting by asking evocative questions and provoking discussion.

Conduct Your Research

One of the best ways you can prepare for your safety meeting is to exploit your company’s internal resources. Most companies have a wealth of information concerning the specific safety topics that you deal with every day. Don’t be afraid to ask your co-workers, the former safety manager, or your supervisors for help. There are also a wide variety of online resources such as OSHA, MSHA, and NIOSH. One of my favorite resources is the health and safety section of’s website. There are hundreds of valuable books on a wide variety of safety and health topics.

Pick the Right Topic

You want to pick a topic relevant to your operation and time of year. You may also want to focus on recent, high frequency, or high profile accidents that may have occurred in the workplace recently. Maybe you’ve seen or heard of some employees conducting unsafe acts recently that you’d like to highlight. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to specifically humiliate a particular individual, but you could discuss the event in a general way to make sure that everyone else knew the proper way to perform a particular task. Any time you have a new product, piece of machinery, or process you definitely want to arrange for a safety meeting to discuss the safety issues related to that topic.

Gather Your Training Materials

You want to make sure you have access to the latest and most up-to-date statistics, regulations and online tools. It’s especially important to utilize visual aids. Anything that can help engage your audience will encourage participation and attentiveness. This might include safety videos, safety booklets, and practical demonstrations. For instance, if you’re conducting a HAZWOPER class you would actually want to bring a protective suit and other protective equipment in order to demonstrate donning and doffing.

The Importance of Engaging Your Audience

Anything that can engage your audience or encourage them to actively participate in the discussion the more likely somebody is going to remember the content. The following graphic, Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning, shows the likelihood of remembering a topic depending on how it is presented:


Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice makes perfect. Practice speaking in front of friends and family. If you can’t find anyone to help with this you could also practice speaking in front of a mirror. This will help with your timing. For instance, quite often it’s the case that the content you develop for a course on paper may end up taking up too much time or too little time when you discuss it out loud, in front of an active and engaged audience. Also, the actual act of rehearsing your material will tend to reduce the amount of filler words a person inevitably uses when speaking completely off-the-cuff. Making your delivery direct and simple will help keep your audience in engaged. Remember to keep your meeting as short as practically possible. Why? Well, adults usually have an attention span of no more than 20-30 minutes, even with a good topic and an interesting speaker, so the short and more to the point your meeting is the better the result.

When Conducting Your Meeting

It’s very important to give people notice of your upcoming meeting and do so as far in advance as possible. The primary purpose of doing this is to simply give people enough time to fit the meeting in their schedule. One result that I’ve often found is that people will also tend to be more engaged in the meeting because they will have had an opportunity to think about the topic beforehand. You will want to encourage people to arrive early and start on time. This is especially true for the instructor. If you, the instructor, doesn’t arrive early you won’t have the opportunity to set your visual aids and to set the room up for the meeting. This will also show your trainees that you think they are important. If you show up late, not only is it practically difficult to conduct the course and get back on track, it’s also a sign of disrespect. You’ll also want to set ground rules for the meeting. You don’t want people distracting you or talking out of turn. It’s essential that you state the objectives of the meeting at the beginning of the meeting. This sort of outline will help keep the audience engaged and on track throughout the meeting. Go out of your way to ask your trainees questions. Also, and this is very important, at the end of the meeting you will want to summarize what occurred. This helps with the learning process.


  • Conduct your research
  • Pick the right topic
  • Gather your training materials
  • Practice speaking and delivering the course
  • When Conducting Your Meeting:
    • Arrive early
    • State the objectives
    • Ask your trainees questions
    • Summarize the Meeting

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