Last week we discussed what a workplace safety moment is and why it’s effective, and this week we build on the subject, providing safety moment ideas and tips. You learned the what, why, and when; now learn the how.
Ideas for Safety Topics
The possibilities of what to cover in your safety moment, also called a safety minute, are unlimited. You need not follow regulatory guidelines or other protocol boundaries. Just so long as health and safety are the primary focus, go for it. Your subject doesn’t even need to be about the workplace. Driving, diet, fitness, home emergency preparedness—all are worthy subjects.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, experiencing a safety topic block, or seeking inspiration from others, there are loads of resources online. For example, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provides over thirty ideas for safety moments. Each topic is accompanied by a downloadable one-pager to help guide your presentation and use as a handout.
Similarly, the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries offers numerous great suggestions, some general and some for specific work sectors.
Make Your Safety Minute Useful and Personal
Your workforce is an excellent source for topic ideas. Seek suggestions and encourage employees to share their own health and safety experiences, or share your own.
Did someone lose fifty pounds because they eliminated soda and fast food from their diet, and now they don’t have to take back pain medication? Did someone experience heat exhaustion because they forgot to drink water and stayed out in the heat too long? Did you start a lunchtime walking group and notice people remarking that it is a great pick-me-up and way to release stress?
Personal stories have a particularly strong impact. They often show vulnerability, and vulnerability is linked improved workplace safety. They’re also a great way to encourage communication and workplace community. This is an important part of creating a strong workplace culture, because safety is a team effort.
But certainly don’t shy away from general safety moment ideas. For guidance, look to the weather or upcoming holidays. Winter brings icy surfaces: bring awareness to preventing slip and falls. Summertime is pool time, so address the hazard of drowning and encourage pool safety. End-of-year holidays pose dietary challenges for many; a great topic could be how to navigate calorie-rich parties and dinners. If you’re searching for a safety moment of the day, think through the particular risks the workplace poses that day.
What is most important when choosing a topic is that it be relevant to your audience and their needs, and useful.
Anatomy of a Safety Minute
So you’ve homed in on your topic, and it’s one that you feel will be very useful to your workforce. Now what? You’ve got about five minutes to communicate the message. A few key elements to consider for a successful presentation include the following:
- Provide the “why”: Begin by letting staff know why you chose this topic, why you felt it was relevant to them. If the topic was a worker suggestion, say so. Let staff know you’re listening.
- Make it concise and narrowly focused: You have a couple minutes to present your topic; stay on point and don’t try to cover too much.
- Make it conversational: These are not formal safety meetings nor are they a time for you to dictate behavior. Keep the tone friendly and conversational.
- Provide takeaways: Give your staff ways to implement the topic you’ve presented. This makes your safety moment feel useful and applicable in the real world.
- Ask and encourage questions: This is an excellent opportunity for dialog, feedback, and creating community.
While five minutes is a short bit of time, you can pack a lot in. This short video (just about one-and-a-half minutes), hitting on the important topic of stair safety, could make a quick opener to raise awareness about the risks stairs pose:
After showing such a video, you can open the floor to a short discussion.
Keep It Fresh and Fun
Safety moments happen often. To make them effective, vary them in terms of topics, presentation format, and style. You can use videos, first-person narratives, demonstrations, or interactive role play, and be sure to throw in some humor when appropriate.
Keep your workforce engaged to ensure your safety moment ideas make the maximum impact.