If one of your top concerns as a safety manager has to do with your employees taking hand protection safety seriously, you're right on target. With the potential for injuries on the job and the costs and lost work time your company and the employee face for each incident, you probably have days when you want to stand on the work floor and shout through a megaphone to make sure everyone gets the message loud and clear.
Unfortunately, you have easily a year's worth of toolbox talk topics for your leaders to cover, and they can't all be about hand safety. Besides, repeating the same information to the same people doesn't equate to them applying what you say. Instead of trying to drill home the message with overkill, try some creativity to keep hand protection front of mind for everyone at your job site.
Get Hands On at Hand Protection Safety Meetings
When you hold all-staff or other large safety meetings about hand safety, avoid the urge to stand up and lecture from the same PowerPoint deck. According to the learning pyramid, people retain only 5 percent of what they hear at a lecture, while they retain 90 percent of what they learn and use immediately or teach someone else and 75 percent when they practice what they learned. So, find a hot-button topic for your employees and prepare ways to put props in their hands and let them learn and teach each other. For example, if your company is getting new equipment that poses a hand safety risk, set up stations at which employees learn proper techniques and can practice in a safe environment. Then, have each employee coach someone else and evaluate how they're approaching the same task.
Expect people to make mistakes as they're learning and then teaching. That's the whole point. In fact, the brain retains information better after making mistakes. So, while a safety meeting full of mistakes might sound counterproductive, it's an excellent way to teach safety without distractions.
Have Naysayers? Call Them On Their Stuff
Chances are, at least some of your employees bemoan any hand protection safety training. These vocal Negative Nellies can influence the mood of their coworkers and cost you valuable attention from otherwise receptive employees. When you have to give a hand protection safety talk, meet the groaners and complainers head on and address their assertions of time-wasting or boredom. If you need an outside voice to lend authority to your point, try a hand protection safety video or one demonstrating the importance of such training, like this one.
Attend to the Average Attention Span
While you can talk all day about the intricacies of hand protection, safety gloves and proper procedures can captivate everyday employees for only so long. In fact, a 2008 study from Lloyd's TSB showed the average attention span has dropped from 12 to just 5 minutes. Blame technology or busyness overload, but the result is the same: in order to effectively reach your employees, you have to make your point quickly and be memorable.
Of course, that's easier said than done. After all, even the shortest toolbox talks can run 10 minutes or more. To connect with your employees, you'll have to get creative. Here are a few ideas.
Be Where Their Minds Are
Distractions abound for your employees, from vacation musings to social media. Take the time to find out what draws your employees' attention away from work, and make an effort to be present in those spaces. Maintain an interesting social media presence that employees will want to follow. Install equipment to show looping video above the counter in the break room. Even nuanced messages on pay advice has a place in reiterating critical hand protection safety messages.
By making safety knowledge fun, you force employees to listen to your information. Try hand protection safety quizzes for quick rewards that engage your staff. Long-term competitions such as team safety report numbers can work as long as you set up the competition and hand prtection safety policies so that employees don't feel pressure to avoid reporting incidents due to the contest.
Develop In-House Hand Protection Safety Videos
In lieu of constant hand protection safety talks, cast some staff members to create short, 2-to-3-minute videos about hand safety and other important topics. This way, you highlight custom talking points that apply perfectly to your company's work and also build camaraderie and buy-in among your employees.
With the right mix of tactics, you can take your creative safety meetings to the next level to hold your employees' attention and emphasize hand protection safety tips. Do your homework, neutralize negative influencers, and involve employees in their own learning so lessons stick.