Every day there are thousands of early morning safety meetings. It has become a ritual that is hard-wired into our day to day activities. A safety advisor or consultant often leads, or is responsible for parts of a safety meeting. At times, however, safety meetings are led by management since many large producers require this of their sub contractors.

An unfortunate outcome of these meetings being so expected, is that many of the crew tune out and have fine tuned a practiced look of casual interest in whomever is speaking. If we take a hard look at the reasons for this disinterest, we quickly land on the manner in which the meeting is being managed. If you don’t experience this with your safety meetings perhaps you have already dealt with some of the issues I will outline below. However, if you find yourself still struggling with participation, interaction and enthusiasm for your meetings, then read on!

Let’s run through a typical safety meeting to illustrate my point. Typically you arrive thirty minutes before the start of the meeting to prepare. The supervisor is usually there already and is doing his paperwork and getting ready for the day. Your crew will start showing up anywhere between fifteen and five minutes prior to meeting kick off. You have your daily stats from the day before and you discuss hazards, near misses, positive observations, incidents and generally anything interesting. You might discuss particular hazards associated with the tasks for that day and leave it at that. The supervisor will say his bit, and if the mandate is to have a management led safety meeting your role as safety advisor might be limited to simply sharing the stats from the day before. After ten to fifteen minutes the meeting is done and folks start their tasks for the day.

How often have you seen this scenario play out? Let’s take a look at some of the myths of safety meetings and some facts.


  1. Your crew buys into the safety program

  2. Your crew wants to talk about safety every day, particularly around 7 am

  3. Your presenting skills are so effective you can hold folks attention for 15 minutes

  4. Presenting yesterdays hazards and concerns will certainly excite the crew today

  5. Reading the same thing over and over will guarantee your crew really understands the issues

  6. Your crew is very well rested and is listening with rapt attention to all the safety nuggets you throw their way

  7. Ten minutes to go over all pertinent safety matters is long enough

  8. Your crews are comfortable asking questions in front of their peers

  9. New or young workers are being coached in all safety matters by their peers

  10. You droning on about the minutiae of a very specific safety issue will make the crew respect you even more

  11. The use of social media or any technology for that matter has no place in a safety meeting


  1. You must work extremely hard to gain your crew’s buy in. Go after head and heart. Intersperse facts with stories if at all possible

  2. Use as many different mediums to get your point across. Video is one of the best mediums to get a message across to your crew

  3. Use power point sparingly. Power point ninja need not apply for safety roles

  4. If you must use power point, do not exceed ten slides and have only a few bullets per slide. Insert multiple pictures and videos. See point 2

  5. Interact with the crew. This will be a challenge initially as they prefer to sit back and let you or management do all the talking. Don’t let them. After all this about them staying safe. If at all possible, get the crew to interact with one another. This will allow for knowledge and experience sharing. For example, use a white board so a crew member can write down hazards during the safety meeting

  6. Want to really educate your personnel? Use props or equipment to have some hands on experience. Show them damaged equipment and teach them about rules and regulations around that piece of equipment

  7. Use current events to highlight safety. Be creative and original in searching out current events like severe weather, industrial accidents in other industries or other catastrophic events. Suddenly you are no longer talking at them, rather you are telling a story

  8. Use humor to get your points across. Self-deprecation can go a long way to build rapport with your crew. They need to get used to you in the same way you need to get to know them


Standing up in front of a group of coworkers is not easy. You have to be prepared to deliver the goods, you must engage with your team and you have to create rapport with your crew, creating buy in from your crew will take time. If you start incorporating some of the tips mentioned, you will slowly create an environment where safety is not only preached, but also practiced! For more on creating a safety culture at work, check out Why Creating a Safety Culture Is Better Than Relying on Compliance.