T.J. Scimone, Founder and CEO, Slice, Inc.
Try livening up your safety moments with some unconventional topics. This is a great way to re-engage staff—something new and unexpected will perk up your listeners. It’s also an effective way to go beyond conventional regulations, because while OSHA or other standardized regulations are important guidelines, in order to keep your staff safe, you need to go beyond regulations and get specific about your work environment. Regulations should be your base-level requirements, not your end goals.
What Is a Safety Moment?
Safety moments are short but frequent safety training sessions. A safety moment should last less than 10 minutes. It can take place at any time: the beginning of a shift; in the middle of the day to break up work; or before/after a non-safety meeting or event. Make it informal and invite group interaction, which makes it an excellent way to get workers involved. Workers’ involvement is critical to a strong safety culture, because safety is a team effort.
How to Create Safety Moments That Enhance Workplace Safety
Safety moments can take many forms; there’s no set way they need to go. They can be refresher drills, video presentations, role-play scenarios, Q & A, personal tales around a safety topic—it’s up to you.
Effective messaging is genuine. Are you willing to do what you’re asking workers to do? Are you going to lead by example? When you embrace your safety training, you send a message that you take safety seriously, and that will strengthen your workplace safety culture. If you’re calling it in without conviction or honest interest, workers will be able to feel it, and your efforts will likely have a more harmful effect. Buy-in begets buy-in.
Safety Moment Examples for Meetings That Excite People
Because safety moments are so open and short, they’re a great place to try something new and touch on subjects that are out of the ordinary. The ultimate goal is to keep safety on people’s minds. So, for ideas to qualify as good safety moment examples, they only need to have worker well-being at the core of the message.
Health and safety is concerned with all facets of well-being, so you’ve got lots of options. Broad topics include:
- Mental and emotional wellness
- Fatigue and stress management
- Physical well-being
- Nutrition, hydration and eating habits
The following less conventional safety moment examples provide specific ways to address each one of these topics.
Meditation or Mindfulness
A common cause of injury in the workplace is lack of awareness or mindfulness. One way to improve mindfulness and generate a calm state is through meditation. Even a short period of time dedicated to quieting the mind will help. For your safety moment, play a two- or three-minute meditation video, and have all attendees participate.
Learning by doing helps people experience the benefit of your topic. A new skill also provides a useful takeaway.
Ask For Help, Offer Help
Fatigue and stress are other common causes of workplace safety issues. One way to remedy these conditions is to offer help or ask for help. Is someone struggling with tight deadlines? Can you see that someone is having a hard time lifting a box? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you know that a co-worker just had a new baby, so isn’t sleeping well?
Offering or asking for assistance in times of need helps reduce the chances of poor choices and injuries. But, actually getting workers to make these exchanges can be awkward or uncomfortable. In your safety moment, get staff comfortable with these exchanges by teaming people up for role play. As a takeaway, request that workers ask for or offer help at least once in the following week. Invite staff to share their experiences in a follow-up safety moment.
Movement or Rest, and Stretching
To maintain physical well-being, people need to move their bodies, if they are sedentary for long periods of time, and rest when tired. This is especially helpful in reducing occurrences of overuse injuries and keeping workers alert. Anyone that works at a desk using a computer all day needs to incorporate regular intervals of movement and stretch their hands, wrists and shoulders. Workers who are continually on the go need short but frequent periods of rest; stretching overused muscles will benefit them, as well. For your safety moment, run through three to five stretches that are specific to work demands. Encourage workers to set a timer and repeat these stretches, as well as move or rest, at least once every 30 minutes.
Eating and Hydration Habits
What we consume impacts our energy levels and emotional states. Someone with healthier eating and hydration habits will be more alert. And many people struggle with poor diet habits. The key word here is “habits.” Experts calculate that up to 50% of our daily activities aren’t decisions we’re actively making at the time; they’re mindless habits.
For your safety moment, discuss habits. Creating awareness around a habit is a key factor in making changes. As a takeaway, ask workers to choose a diet habit they’d like to change, track it for a week and make one small daily alteration to that habit: say, choose a cup of herbal tea instead of that sixth cup of coffee at 5:30 pm. Invite them to share their awareness experience at a follow-up safety moment.
Safety moments are a great way to reinforce a strong safety culture and to keep workers in a “safety first” state of mind. Incorporating unexpected topics will help keep your moments interesting, and contribute to making your health and safety program well-rounded. Remember, the best safety moment examples are those that keep staff engaged in safety and health. WMHS
[Editor’s Note: Originally Posted as “Safety Moment Examples: Try Something Unexpected” in The Slice Blog.]
About the Author:
T.J. Scimone is Founder and CEO of Slice, Inc., maker of unique and safer cutting tools. All tools feature patent-pending, finger-friendly® ceramic blades and ergonomic handles. Slice hosts a Workplace Safety Blog to provide resources and information about safety at workforce employees and management.