The business world has turned into a head-spinning amount of meetings that rarely accomplish anything. Leading to complaints about attending meetings.  If you drop the bomb that it is safety-related, you will notice the no-shows increase. But, there are some types of meetings that are essential.

Let’s take some time to review what meetings the safety department must be having and how to accomplish more with fewer meetings.

MORE MEETINGS DO NOT EQUAL MORE SAFETY

Death by Meeting is not our goal here.  The more meetings the safety department has does not correlate to the importance of the department.

The phrase to remember is Don’t create more work; streamline the work that has to be done.

  • Create a list of all of the types of meetings, from all departments that are currently happening regularly.
  • Determine who is at each meeting and star the ones with the same attendees.
  • Consider the current length of the meeting – if it is already 45-60 minutes long, it should remain stand-alone
  • Look to combine meetings with similar attendees that are relatively short.
  • When you have a new safety-related meeting to add, look at this list and see if you can combine it together.

PRO TIP: People lose attention span after 45 minutes. Never go over that time limit. If you have to run longer, break it into two meetings.

For Example:

  • A weekly review of all incidents that happened combines well with a weekly managers meeting.
  • A security meeting can be combined with an inventory shortage and returns meeting.

SUCCESSFUL MEETING INVITES

There are steps you can take that can help the attendees make the most of their time at your meeting. It all starts with the prep work before the invite.

Create an agenda for the meeting before you even invite anyone.  What is the meeting about, what is the purpose, and what will be discussed? 

The purpose of the meeting is the most important.  And, the purpose needs to include why it is essential everyone attends a meeting for it.  You don’t want to have a meeting on something where you could have just sent an email.

When attendees understand their presence is necessary for a successful outcome, they are more likely to attend.  Include them in the agenda or invite them to present for part of the meeting.

Meetings should be a collaboration event.  If it is just the Safety Manager show, then you didn’t need a meeting – you needed a memo, a report, or an email.

In your meeting invite, include the purpose, the agenda, and what you expect them to contribute to the collaboration; what should they come to the table with?

MEETING PREP

If there will be data, charts, policies, or documents to review during the meeting.  Send them out ahead of time.

Never wait to drop them in everyone’s lap at the meeting and expect them to have input on them.

Every person consumes information differently.  The last-minute review may work for some, but others may need time to read the information, gather their thoughts, and develop a list of ideas.

By sharing the information ahead of time, your meeting will be more productive and worth everyone’s time.

THE TOP 5 TYPES OF MEETINGS MOST COMPANIES SHOULD BE HAVING

  1. Safety Committee –this is an employee meeting that is facilitated by safety. It is the employee’s opportunity to share safety concerns and to be involved in the program.  Some states require that the company has a safety committee.
  2. PSM Committee– if there is a hazardous chemical at the facility in a quantity that requires process management, then a Process Safety Management Committee meeting must be happening. This is a requirement per OSHA; also, it is a requirement that employees make up part of the committee.
    Keep in mind that the members of this committee must be trained on at least the basics of PSM.
  3. Executive Advisory– this is the executive management team at the facility overseeing the safety program. Although it is not required to manage your program this way, it is a best practice. To get management support the management team must be involved in the safety program.  The Executive Advisory is a perfect way to do this. 
    They usually meet monthly and review trending, continuous improvement, and current events in safety.
  4. Weekly Staff Meeting– almost every company has a time where the entire management team, including front line supervisors, get together and talk about what is going on in their departments. This is an excellent time for safety to be part of that discussion. 
  5. All Hands or Town Hall– this is a meeting where the management team presents to the employees what is going on at the company. Not all facilities do this, but it is a great practice.  It makes the employees feel valued and prepares them for what is going on. Safety should be part of this meeting, but the safety message should come from the highest level and not the safety manager. This is the executive’s time to demonstrate their commitment and support for the safety program.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.  You could add in several others.  But no matter the size of the company, these five types of meetings should be happening.

Doing so will instill safety as a core value at the company and help develop the safety culture.

TAKE ACTION

Are you sending effective meeting invitations?  Take a look at your last meeting invite.  What can you improve on?  Take the time, now that you know these tips for productive meetings, and develop your meeting strategy.  I would love to know the results.

Now It’s Your Turn

What meetings do you have that didn’t make my top 5?  Comment below and let me know.  While you’re at it, give this article a star rating, it will help others find it. Thanks.

Hi, I’m Brye (rhymes with sky)!  I am a self-proclaimed safety geek with two decades of general industry safety experience.  I train and coach new safety managers on how to effectively do their jobs in the real world.  I specialize in bringing safety programs to a world-class level and building a safety culture.  I would love to help you do the same.

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