From machine guarding to personal protective equipment to fire prevention, hazardous waste management, fall protection, and more, there’s no shortage of manufacturing safety topics you need to cover with your workforce.
Educating employees on these sorts of safety topics is pivotal to the success of your manufacturing environment, health, and safety (EHS) and compliance program. It’s how you keep people safe, maximize efficiency, and stay out of trouble with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other regulatory authorities. Safety meetings make certain every member of your team understands the importance of manufacturing safety and is doing everything they can to keep themselves and others unharmed.
Are you covering all the manufacturing safety topics you need to cover with your workforce? Don’t wait until an incident happens to find out you missed something. Top-performing manufacturing companies ensure ongoing safety and compliance by making time for safety meetings, which promote awareness of life-saving practices and procedures.
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 manufacturing safety program. They provide EHS 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 manufacturing 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.
For more information, read this guide to safety meetings.
11 Essential Manufacturing Safety Meeting Topics
So, what manufacturing safety 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 11 key topics, starting with the top 5 most frequent OSHA violations in the manufacturing industry.
Industrial equipment poses many dangers to your workforce. Help your employees use heavy machines safely and efficiently by discussing the various hazards and then going over the machine guarding controls—such as barriers, light curtains, and two-hand trips—that may be in place in your facility.
Do your employees know how to safely depower dangerous machines? Explain the importance of controlling hazardous energy as well as every step of your organization’s lockout/tagout procedures. Typical minimum procedures require the following: 1. notify employees affected, 2. shut down equipment, 3. isolate the source of energy, 4. attach the lockout device, 5. release or restrain any energy stored within the machine, and 6. verify the lockout.
Unlabeled and mislabeled chemicals pose serious dangers to employees—and can result in major regulatory penalties. A manufacturing 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 library of material safety data sheets.
Contaminated air in your facilities can cause health problems ranging from bronchitis and emphysema to cognitive issues and cancer. It’s imperative that any worker exposed to hazardous air knows how to protect themselves by using a respiratory device. That requires an understanding of the different kinds of respirators, knowledge of fit testing, an awareness that regular medical evaluations are required, and more.
Wiring and Electrical Safety
Many people underestimate the importance of proper wiring and electrical safety. The wrong kinds of wires and wiring setups can result in electrocution, fires, and falls, among other hazards. Keep your workers safe by discussing wiring safety topics such as proper electrical installation, insulation, maintenance, and repairs.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
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.
Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace injuries, which make them prime candidates for manufacturing safety meeting topics. Your employees should be aware of fall causes and risk factors (such as wet and uneven surfaces) along with how to protect themselves and minimize the chances of a fall.
Conveyors are essential everyday machines for manufacturing, but they can add risk to operations if not used carefully. Inform your employees about how conveyors work, the hazards of conveyors, and how to work near conveyors safely.
A fire at your manufacturing facility can jeopardize lives and property. 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.
Chemical Spills and Leaks
Do your employees know how to prevent spills, leaks, and other forms of toxic chemical exposure? Are they prepared to act quickly in the event of an emergency? Give your employees the tools and knowledge they need by discussing this topic at a manufacturing safety meeting—you could even conduct a simulated chemical spill scenario.
Hazardous Waste Management
The EPA has numerous requirements governing the handling of hazardous waste. Be sure your employees are knowledgeable about subjects such as hazardous waste regulations, waste determination, generator status, storage, labels, inspections, accumulation limits, and waste pickup.
Get Help Running Manufacturing Safety Meetings + EHS Software, Consulting, Training, and More
Manufacturers throughout North America depend on KPA to minimize risk and maximize workforce safety. Our combination of EHS software, expert consulting, and award-winning training makes it easy to unite your employees around your safety program and build a genuine safety culture in your workplace. We’ll help you plan and conduct safety meetings, educate your employees on critical EHS topics, keep track of compliance, and much more.