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18 Must-Know Safety Meeting Topics to Protect Your Auto Dealership

18 Must-Know Safety Meeting Topics to Protect Your Auto Dealership

Safety meetings are a core component of any auto dealership’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) program. From personal protective equipment to fire prevention, hazardous waste management, fall protection, and more, there’s no shortage of safety topics to cover with your dealership employees.

Educating employees on these sorts of safety topics is pivotal to the success of your safety program. It’s how you keep people safe, maximize efficiency, and stay out of trouble with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other regulatory authorities. Safety meetings ensure every team member understands the importance of safety and is doing everything they can to keep themselves and others unharmed.

Are you covering all the safety topics you need to cover with your workforce? Don’t wait until an incident happens to find out you missed something. Top-performing dealerships ensure ongoing safety and compliance by making time for safety meetings, which promote awareness of life-saving practices and procedures. Are you ready to add safety meetings to your EHS arsenal? If so, you’re in the right place.


KPA Consulting team member, Mike Brenner, walks us through the essential topics dealers should cover in their safety meetings. Check it out!

What Is a Safety Meeting?

A safety meeting is more or less what it sounds like: an event to go over and discuss one or more hazards in the workplace.

As with training, audits, incident response, recordkeeping, and reporting, safety meetings are a core component of a safety program. They provide safety managers with valuable opportunities to explain safety topics in-depth, engage in conversations with employees, and guide the direction of the organization’s safety program.

Note that a safety meeting is not the same thing as a toolbox talk. A toolbox talk is usually informal, brief (about 5 or 10 minutes), and centered on a hazard workers are likely to face that day or week.

Safety meetings are longer and more formal than toolbox talks and tend to focus on larger issues. They’re more than a short conversation or a “heads-up.” A safety meeting may take 20–45 minutes and involve multiple formats, such as a presentation followed by an interactive activity or a group discussion. Think of it as a seminar or learning session rather than a quick huddle.

Here’s a year’s worth of topics to cover in your safety meetings.

For more information, read this guide to safety meetings.

Read the Guide to Safety Meetings

Now that you’ve got some ideas on topics to cover, learn best practices on delivering safety meetings

3 Key Areas to Cover in Auto Dealership Safety Meetings

So, what topics should your safety meetings cover? With dozens of potential topics, making a choice can feel overwhelming. To help you out, we’ve narrowed it down to a manageable list of 3 key areas that impact your employees, with some ideas to expand up on from there. Ready? Let’s take a look.

1. OSHA’s Priorities for Dealerships

OSHA penalties can exceed $15,000 per violation daily for every day the issue remains unresolved. The fine for a repeat violation can be 10x as much.

In short, your dealership can’t afford to go there. Protect your company–and your people–by holding safety meetings in the following areas:

Visit the OSHA Top 10 Resource Hub

Learn why OSHA violations happen, what you stand to lose when you get hit with one, along with warning signs to look out for.

Unlabeled and mislabeled chemicals pose severe dangers to employees and can result in significant regulatory penalties.

A safety meeting is an ideal opportunity to discuss this topic. Your workforce should be familiar with the dangers of chemical exposure, the ins and outs of your hazard communication plan, and how to use your Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) library.

Hazard communication is so critical that OSHA requires a written plan and documentation. Need a plan for your dealership? KPA can help.

Learn more about hazard communication.

Contaminated air related to auto body repair and paint work can cause health problems ranging from bronchitis to cognitive issues to cancer.

All workers exposed to hazardous air must know how to protect themselves by using an appropriate respirator. This requires understanding the different kinds of respirators, how to ensure a proper respirator fit, the need for regular medical evaluations, and more.

Again, OSHA requires a written plan to be in place for these issues. Check out KPA’s powerful tools for creating and managing OSHA-related plans and reporting.

Learn more about respiratory protection.

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace injuries, which makes them a prime candidate for a safety meeting topic.

Your employees should be aware of the causes and risk factors of these injuries (such as wet and uneven surfaces, trip hazards from power cords and power strips, and general poor housekeeping) along with how to protect themselves.

And if you have employees who work on elevated surfaces (defined by OSHA as four feet or higher), you’ll need to take even more precautions.

Learn more about slips, trips, and falls.

Due to the Electric Vehicle (EV) boom, forklift usage at dealerships has become more prevalent, introducing a suite of potential hazards. Loads can fall and crush people. Forklifts can tip over, injuring drivers and workers nearby. Pedestrians can get hit, which is especially common in workplaces like dealerships where many people are moving around on foot.

Learn more about forklifts.

Electric Vehicle servicing introduces new compliance questions and challenges for dealerships: high voltage electricity, battery fires, and special shipping or storage needs for EV batteries. Although shops will typically have fully-certified EV technicians on staff, non-certified employees must also be aware of the hazards.

Check out the EV Safety Hub for a deeper dive into how to keep your workers safe.

PPE such as goggles, masks, harnesses, and gloves protect your employees from various hazards and injuries. Deliver a safety meeting to make sure your workforce knows the types of PPE they need to wear—and how to wear it properly—as well as the fundamentals of PPE inspections and maintenance.

Learn more about PPE.

Beyond industry-specific topics, OSHA’s focused on regional topics as well. Check out the local emphasis programs in play in your region.

2. Issues Impacting Your Workforce

Your workforce is composed of, well…people. And even the most basic human behaviors can be fraught with risk in the workplace. Acknowledge and train your folks on these crucial topics:

Your employees should be 100% clear about your dealership’s procedures for reporting incidents and accidents. Safety meetings are the perfect time to review recent accidents and near misses, understand the root causes, and help workers understand the costs of these accidents–both personal and to the company.

Want a fool-proof strategy? Learn more about KPA’s robust online EHS Incident Reporting Software.

Operating vehicles at a dealership can create hazards both on the lot and in the building (picture an employee zipping through the shop on their way to a bay).

Is there a known property speed limit? How is it enforced? Do you need to install traffic mirrors on blind corners? Are employees driving through the shop with a vehicle’s hood up? These are all potential areas where safety meeting training and related procedures can reduce accidents and save lives.

Check out a sample of our safe driving online training.

To state the obvious, using drugs on the job has countless harmful implications. Examples include loss of time, reduced alertness and productivity, unexplained absences, and drastically increased potential for accidents. It’s crucial to bring attention to these issues by making them part of your safety meetings.

You can also refer to KPA’s Substance Abuse Checklist.

Workplace violence training typically covers effective prevention strategies as well as how to respond to disgruntled employees, active shootings, bomb threats, and suspicious packages. 

KPA’s workplace violence training includes actionable tips for dealing with these types of extreme situations.

In its most basic form, first aid is initial emergency care given to an ill or injured person, just until a professional medical service arrives in place. It can help save lives, hinder temporary and long-term disabilities, and prevent any emergency situation from becoming worse. With this in mind, it makes a good business strategy to train your employees on the basics of first aid as it will help you secure a healthier, safer workplace environment for your workers.

A fire at your facility can jeopardize lives and property. Besides highlighting the importance of being prepared, your workforce should know how to prevent fires, how to effectively contain a fire if one breaks out, and the details of your emergency action plan.

Sample KPA’s Fire Prevention training online training.

KPA’s Fire Prevention for On-Site Training

Fatigue is an easily overlooked safety consideration. It can cause distraction and make it challenging for people to recall and adhere to basic safety protocols. Train your people to be aware of fatigue–and its potential for serious issues–and provide them with a clear path for reporting and dealing with fatigue concerns.

3. Environmental Issues

Your people have an impact on the environment, and the environment has an impact on them. Safety meetings are ideal for discussing the appropriate responses for seasonal considerations and how to deal with the unexpected.

OSHA is ramping up its enforcement on heat illness-related issues, so make it a priority to cover with your team. You’ll want to discuss the causes of heat stress and the related preventive measures.

But why go at it alone? KPA’s Curbing Heat Illness podcast provides all the detail you need.

Dealerships have a unique challenge with winter weather because they often move hundreds of vehicles around the lot to remove snow and ice. As a result, employees travel across slippery surfaces, exposing themselves to injury. Other winter hazards range from improper footwear to the spread of seasonal illness–even the lack of a designated driver to chauffeur staff after the office holiday party.

Is your workforce prepared for the winter weather? We’ve collected many tips in our Winter Safety Toolkit.

Excessive temperatures, hurricane season, destructive wildfires, and other such concerns are unique to the summer season–and seem to intensify by the year. So, leverage a safety meeting to ensure your staff is aware of hot-weather threats and how to respond to them.

Want to learn more about staying cool in the heat? We’ve collected some suggestions on how to keep your employees safe.

Do your employees know how to prevent spills, leaks, and other toxic chemical exposures? Are they prepared to act quickly in the event of an emergency?

Discussing this topic at a safety meeting will give your employees the necessary tools and knowledge. You could even conduct a simulated chemical spill scenario.

In the meantime, take KPA’s Chemical Spills and Leaks Pop Quiz.

The EPA has numerous requirements governing the handling of hazardous waste.

Plan one or more safety meetings to ensure your employees are knowledgeable about crucial subjects like hazardous waste regulations, waste determination, generator status, storage, labels, inspections, accumulation limits, and waste pickup.

Want some additional tips? Learn these 4 hazardous waste management and environmental documentation best practices.

Want to improve your organization’s training program as quickly and cost-effectively as possible?

You’ve come to the right place. Thousands of dealerships like yours depend on KPA to minimize risk and maximize workforce safety. Our combination of EHS, F&I, and HR software, expert consulting services, and award-winning training makes it easy to unite your employees around your safety program and build a genuine safety culture in your workplace.

You’ve come to the right place. KPA offers award-winning training courses that are…

  • available online and on-site, led by our safety Risk Management Consultants,
  • designed to help employees improve their performance on the job and improve compliance,
  • based on real-world stories and examples.

About The Author

Toby Graham

Toby manages the marketing communications team here at KPA. She's on a quest to help people tell clear, fun stories that their audience can relate to. She's a HUGE sugar junkie...and usually starts wandering the halls looking for cookies around 3pm daily.

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