Talk about Safety: Save a Life!

[tweetmeme]”Toolbox Talks”, “Toolbox Topics” , “Safety Chats” , “Tailgate Meetings” or whatever your organization calls them is a brief safety talk or meeting about a specific subject at the beginning of the shift. These talks can be done in a variety of ways but are typically a brief (5-10 minute) interactive discussion meeting on something safety related. Toolbox Topics are used to cover a variety of short safety training subjects and to remind employees each day before they go to work, the importance of being safe.  They can also help foster and grow a culture of safety within your company.

However sometimes the same safety meetings that occur time after time lose some of the spark as an effective training tool.  We’ve all been to safety meetings that missed the mark—topics were not pertinent, sessions ran too long, disorganization ruled.  We have all experienced times when the safety training was forgotten as soon as the meeting was over.

It’s too important to just give up though.  Employee’s lives and fortune depend upon their knowledge and attitude about job site safety.  One seemingly silly accident can quickly ruin a company financially as well, and for the remaining employees it can certainly alter their quality of life.  It is in every worker’s interest to protect their savings and earning potential as well as their life and health.

Tips for Effective Safety Meetings

  • Carefully time the length of meetings.  If you hold meetings once a month, keep the length at 30-45 minutes; once a week, keep it 30 minutes or less with 20 minutes as the ideal length. The longest meetings should run no more than an hour.
  • For construction work, have short, informal tailgate safety meetings of 5, 10, or 15 minutes before work once a week, with a longer talk at least once a month or at the start of each phase of the construction project.
  • Schedule topics over a long period—a year is most common.  The schedule provides reasonable deadlines for the trainer and helps others plan their working days.
  • Select meeting topics on the basis of 1) a review of the most recent types of accidents and near-accidents, 2) related corporate safety goals, 3) any particular subjects that need to be covered from a legal or insurance standpoint, and 4) your basic list of safety topics to be reviewed.
  • Have the senior management person at the location open the meeting and sit in—it’s a sign of commitment.

Without constant reminders about safety, we tend to forget, get sloppy, take risks, and have accidents.  Safety meetings are a great refresher and can keep you abreast of changes in the regulations, safety procedures, equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and job assignments, and responsibilities.  Refresher training is also sometimes required by OSHA and having a pre-planned weekly meeting is a convenient way to go over required training.

NIOSH and OSHA release “Nail Gun Safety: A Guide for Construction Contractors”

[tweetmeme]According to the newly released guidance on nail gun safety by NIOSH and OSHA; Nail gun injuries are so common that two out of five residential carpenter apprentices experienced a nail gun injury over a four-year period. The guidance document is primarily for residential home builders and construction contractors, subcontractors, and supervisors. According to the document; NIOSH and OSHA developed it to give construction employers the information they need to prevent nail gun injuries.

The guidance document covers nailers used for fastening wood, shingles, and siding materials, it also refers specifically to pneumatic tools but also applies to nail guns that use gas, electric, or hybrid power sources. It is a well constructed guide book that will provide some basic safety tips for use of nailers. It is my hope that someone actually reads it besides us safety professionals!

You can find it at:

OSHA Limits Outreach Training to 7 1/2 Hours per Day. 10-Hr Class now will take 2 Days!

  [tweetmeme]The following  is copy from an August 6, 2010 memo issued from  Henry E. Payne, Director Training and Education,  Directorate of Training and Education, OSHA

 We are revising the OSHA Outreach Training Program to require authorized Outreach Trainers to limit their training to a maximum of conducted over a minimum of two days and 30-hour courses over a minimum of four days. This is another element in our effort to improve the quality and integrity of the Outreach Training Program.  We believe this key change will result in improved worker training.  Training that does not meet these requirements will not be recognized and trainers will not receive student completion cards.

Outreach Trainers will be allowed to seek approval of courses that cover more than trainer availability, time limits or missing work as extenuating circumstances. We will consider functions such as one-day events that are co-hosted by OSHA and which target a hard-to-reach worker group as an example of a training plan which may be approved. All requests for such approvals must be made in writing and sent the Directorate of Training and Education at least eight weeks prior to the start of the class.

The new policy is outlined in the attached flyer. Please ensure that all OSHA personnel conducting Outreach Training Program courses or assisting in this training are aware of this new requirement.  All Outreach Trainers will be informed that this policy is effective immediately, however we will extend a grace period to trainers for full implementation until December 31,2010. This requirement will be incorporated into the next revision ofthe Outreach Training Program Guidelines scheduled for October 2010.

 If you have any questions regarding the Outreach Training Program or the implementation of this requirement, please contact Don Guerra at the Directorate of Training and Education at (847) 759-7735.