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  • Writer's pictureDorset Health and Safety

10 Ideas for Topics During Workplace Safety Meetings

Safety talks are an important part of an organisations commitment to promoting a safety culture, both at the office and on hazardous job sites.

A well-planned safety meeting: Informs people about workplace risks and safety training; gives the chance to evaluate prior safety-related incidents and keeps people alert and aware of potential hazards.

Safety meeting topics can vary, from tips to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome to explaining company protocols around COVID-19. The important thing is that everyone in your organisation is regularly thinking about safety.

So, what are some good safety topics to incorporate in your meetings or talks around the toolbox? Here are 10 workplace health and safety topics to ensure your workforce is always focused on avoiding injuries or illnesses.

1. Ergonomic and Workplace Stress

Ergonomic stress can cause long-lasting and acute injuries. Employees should be aware of ergonomics risk factors in the workplace in order to avoid them. Repetitive tasks, overexertion, and sustained awkward postures can lead to lifetime injury or pain. Workers should regularly stretch, exercise, and do strength training to avoid ergonomically induced injuries.

Work-related stress, fatigue, depression, and anxiety also account for a large percentage of workplace health issues. Uneven workload patterns, toxic cultures, infrequent breaks, and many other factors can contribute to stress and discomfort. To reduce work-related stress, try to:

  • Ask for help

  • Communicate problems clearly

  • Meditate and try other relaxation techniques

2. Fire Safety

It is essential for employees to know what to do in the event of a fire at the workplace safety meetings present a chance to cover topics such as how to minimise the effects of fire, prevent the fire from spreading and save lives. It’s also good for the workers to know:

  • The whereabouts of fire extinguishers

  • How to use fire extinguishers

  • Quick evacuation routes if/when necessary

Accidents caused by electricity can often be fatal. Knowing how to be careful with electrical equipment and devices at work is of the utmost importance. It’s vital for any safety meeting to discuss the consequences of not wearing proper protective gear while working with electrical wires or being careless around them.

3. Silica Dust and Protection

Prolonged exposure to particles of crystalline silica can lead to serious and fatal illnesses. Examples include chronic silicosis, interstitial lung disease, and even cancer. People who work in mining, steel, glass, and construction industries are more prone to silica-induced diseases.

It’s essential for these industries to hold safety meetings to discuss how workers can protect themselves from silica dust.

Some common materials that contain silica are:

  • Cement and mortar

  • Abrasives used for blasting

  • Tiles and masonry

  • Sand and granite

  • Some protective measures include:

  • Dust control and suppression

  • Exposure monitoring training

  • Wearing PPE

  • Banning smoking in areas where silica dust is present

4. Heat Exhaustion and Safety

Heat exhaustion results from the body’s inability to cool down and regulate its internal temperature. It is usually caused by continuous exposure to excessive heat that dehydrates the body.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness and fainting spells

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Weak pulse

  • Pale face

  • Muscle cramps

  • Symptoms of heatstroke:

  • Behavioural changes (irritability, confusion, disorientation)

  • Seizures

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Muscle and abdominal cramps

  • Weakness

If left unattended, heat exhaustion can worsen and turn into heatstroke. Heat strokes have the potential to be life-threatening. It’s crucial to inform your employees about the signs, symptoms, and prevention of heatstroke.

5. Workplace Injuries

Accidents or injuries in the workplace can occur due to many reasons. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Trips and falls

  • Lifting

  • Being hit by unguarded machinery or falling objects

  • Violent acts in the workplace

  • Stress, fatigue, and overexertion

  • Vehicle-related mishaps

  • Repetitive motion injuries

  • Exposure to hazardous materials

Talking about how such injuries happen and what workers can do to avoid them should be a key element of a safety meeting. Organisations should inform workers on procedures and training that help protect them from accidents in the workplace.

6. Drugs on The Job

Employees using drugs at work are far more likely to get injured. There are many harmful implications for using drugs while working. Examples include job turnover, loss of time, reduced alertness and productivity, unexplained absences, and increased vulnerability to accidents. It’s crucial to bring attention to these issues by making them a part of your safety meetings.

7. Violence at The Workplace

Workplace or occupational violence can result from employees, customers, visitors, or clients engaging in any kind of disruptive behaviour.

This violence could include an act or threat of physical violence, harassment and/or intimidation. Safety meetings should address the policies and procedures organisations have in place to deal with violent acts on the job.

8. Use of Personal Protective Equipment

Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is one of the simplest ways to ensure the safety of your employees. It’s crucial to advise and train employees in using protective equipment, such as prescription lenses, protective hearing devices, foot and arm protection, and other protective equipment.

For example, it’s wise to ask employees to wear hard hats if there’s a danger of falling objects in the workplace. Inform them about using face shields and gloves to prevent scratches, cuts, or possible infections.

9. Workplace Accidents: Reporting, Prevention and Costs

Accidents can result in a heavy financial cost to both the business and the workers involved.

Talking about accidents is essential to every pre-work safety meeting. Employees should know how and why accidents happen at the workplace and what they can do to avoid them.

In case an accident does occur, workers should have adequate reporting procedures in place. A safety meeting is the best place to familiarise workers with workplace accident reporting procedures.

10. Communication Issues and Safety

Lack of communication between employees can be a major reason for workplace accidents. Pre-work safety meetings, or toolbox talks, are a good platform to clarify the roles and responsibilities.

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