Wipe Safety Off The Agenda

Wipe Safety Off The Agenda

Agenda on Clipboard Plan for Meeting or ProjectWe’ve all attended management meetings where safety was proudly touted as the “Number One Agenda Item”.

I see the good intent behind trying to do this but we all know the disdain that many have for “safety” (ie client and regulator compliance) at the moment, so what happens, in reality, is that the agenda priority is perceived as a contrived burden, it becomes diluted lip service, it’s only superficial and there is little discussion beyond statistics and specific hazards and, it’s a great way to just dispense with it quickly and move on to talking about the really important stuff. I firmly believe that the best way to improve the effectiveness of safety efforts is to stop talking about safety like it’s a whole separate aspect of the business! See Stop Talking about Safety and I’m Just Not That Into Safety Anymore

Kevin Jones makes a similar point is his recent blog (very much worth a read): Safety is the first agenda item but the last consideration. Kevin suggests taking safety off the agenda as a specific item and including it, where appropriate, in the detailed discussions about production issues. This way it becomes real, of more importance and all relevant people have to take ownership of it. Kevin gives the following examples (and he hardly mentions the word safety at all!):

So maybe Safety is a question that needs to be asked in each discussion topic.  For instance

In a discussion of materials delivery – Are we certain that these materials will be delivered safely? And is site access designed to minimise external traffic disruption?

In establishing site fencing – Are we certain that temporary fencing is secure and will not fall or allow unauthorised access?

On the recruitment of personnel or the use of contractors – Are we certain that all new workers are competent in their skills?

In the delivery of a finished product – Are we certain that the product does not present new risks and hazards?

So are there better ways and times to discuss safety that are more effective than just promoting it to No1 agenda item in periodic meetings? (perhaps have a read of these: The Art Of Humble Inquiry and When is Your Safety Meeting Not a Safety Meeting and Six Tips to Improve Your Safety Conversations

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below