DUTY OF CARE:
We have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that everyone coming on site knows about the health and safety issues and are equipped to deal with them.
SAFETY BRIEFINGS ARE:
- a simple way of sharing health and safety problems.
- essential for fostering a good health and safety culture on site.
- encouraging staff to report potential failures.
DEFINITION FOR SAFETY BRIEFING
- Short talk to detail the health and safety hazards and risks workers will face.
- Inform all workers of necessary control measures.
- Help inform inexperienced workers and provide reminders to experienced workers of correct control measures.
Everyone should attend safety briefing, including sub-contractors and key supply chain personnel.
Advice for the presenter:
- Messages will be lost if the person doing the delivery is unwilling or unable to communicate effectively. Therefore, spend time considering the selection of individuals that will be delivering the Safety Briefing.
- Volunteers are better than conscripts because workers will pick up on subconscious signals and body language that indicates either the presenter is indifferent or uninterested.
- Organise SB in small groups, this way if you carry out interactive role play activities they will be more likely to participate.
- To be serious about health and safety and take the Safety Briefings seriously.
- To have good communication skills.
- The ability to question and explain.
We are not looking for someone to know everything, but we do want someone who is serious about health and safety and is confident when standing up in front of a group of workers, who will make it interesting, informative and assertive enough to keep the session on track.
HOW TO STRUCTURE AND DELIVER YOUR SAFETY BRIEFING
- Allow enough time e.g. 10-15 minutes.
- Make sure all workers are present before you begin.
- Go through the task and hazards. Highlight safety problems, and control measures for each hazard. Draw attention to safety messages/signs and pictures.
- Inform workers of changes.
- Tell workers not to be afraid to ask questions. Stress that briefings are to share information and not to punish workers for their honesty. Discuss any issues raised or common safety issues. Take notes if you cannot answer one question directly, and make sure you come back to it later (during or after the Safety Briefing).
- Finish by asking if everyone understands (open questions).
PREPARING YOUR SAFETY BRIEFING
WHO SHOULD BE PRESENT:
You should ensure that all workers who will be working on the site are involved, including subcontractors, suppliers and visitors staying onsite (clients supervisors for examples).
If your audience is comfortable they may be more receptive to the message. If you want more discussion get them facing one another rather than in rows but make that they can see the screen.
You need to consider the best time to deliver the Safety Briefing, I.e. either at the beginning of the day or during a refreshment break but the latter may not go down well with your workers. Will workers be listening on a Friday afternoon? When do most accidents happen on site – maybe Safety Briefing should be delivered then?
You want them to be able to read any materials or view an animation without glare or straining. Some people don’t like wearing glasses so make sure the people at the back of the room can see / read the screen.
The limit for most peoples’ attention spxan is 30 minutes, sometimes less. Briefings should be exactly that – BRIEF. Remember most people will only remember 25%-50% of what you said so you may need to think about briefing cards or putting issues raised from the safety briefings on the notice board. Aim for around 5-10 minutes.
Most people cannot concentrate for long periods so if you do all the talking you’ll lose their attention. Mix it up a bit by using questions, using flip charts to record any comments or present any stats or show a movie. Feel free to change the presentation to suit your public.
Somewhere warm and dry. Use mess facilities if you can. You must have access to a working computer and wide screen, and sound system to use the material delivered by DSGo (animations are translated into local languages and must be understand by the workers).
Make sure you build time to prepare and look through the materials, check the running order and timings to allow for question and answer sessions. Ensure the Safety Briefing is properly prepared. If needed, the DSGo team can help you to organise your Safety Briefing.
WHAT SHOULD A SAFETY BRIEFING COVER?
There is a lot to cover during the safety briefings. Aside from the specific topics which will be centrally addressed monthly, you should consider adding some of the topics hereunder if and when appropriate. Look at the situation on the yards and the recent incidents to help the decision making.
LMRA – Last Minute Risk Analysis is an important reminder that workers should STOP work when they consider what they are about to do or are doing contravenes health and safety. They should ensure they have the correct project information and means; the right, certified, tools for the job; the right personal protective equipment. Look up, down and around to ensure worksite is safe.
Working at heights – ensure that workers appreciate it is not just ladders but working on roofs or on or around joists and to be aware of traffic (human) below.
Has thought been given to walkways, access and overhead working or vehicles moving on and off site?
Highlighting any workers/site changeovers and the health and safety implications of that must be fully discussed and risk assessed.
Any feedback/suggestions from staff.
Weather conditions are likely to have implications for using ladders, scaffolds, lifting equipment and potential slips and trips.
Capture any information on near misses or dangerous occurrences.
Plant and Machinery should be operated by qualified workers only and a reminder to switch off engines before alighting the vehicle.
Deliveries, visitors, arrival of specialist equipment, sub-contractors.
We can summarise effective communications as follows:
- Include everyone who should be included.
- Be brief, direct and keep it simple.
- Be accurate and precise.
- Be fast, but not at the expense of accuracy.
- Be selective; send only what is necessary.
- Encourage feedback to ensure the message has been received and understood.
- Use as few links in the communication chain as possible to avoid distortion.
HOW TO DELIVER A SAFETY BRIEFING:
- First impressions count – be clear about what you want to say: Most people make their minds up about a presentation within the first 4-7 seconds. When you are delivering the safety briefing you need to appear confident and in control. Give them a reason for being there which will mean something to them.
- Know your audience: You need to make eye-contact and ask open questions to check workers have understood rather than reading from the safety briefing checklist, e.g. don’t ask a closed question like “Do you understand?” as people tend to say, “Yes” even when they mean, “No”. If for example you have to give someone instructions on methods of work just ask them to run through how they are going to do what you have asked.
- Keep it simple, straightforward and avoid jargon.
- Consider your tone! Workers are more likely to listen if you vary the tone of your voice. Make sure the tone of your voice is not monotone. They’ll fall asleep.
- Make sure your voice carries to the back of the room.
- Be respectful – listen to your workers. Nods and “Okay,” “I see,” are ways of showing you are listening.
- Keep it positive – focus on what is going well, focus on what workers can do to create a healthy and safe working environment. Look for solutions not problems.
- Be brief!
- Pace yourself – explain and summarise. If you feel you are speeding up too much just slow down, summarise what you have said up to that point and ask an open question to check understanding. If you rush you may come across as impatient or not bothered so the worker may not feel able to ask you any questions. Some people need things explaining more than others so watching the pace of your delivery will give them time to think and summaries will help.
HOW TO FOLLOW-UP ON A SAFETY BRIEFING
- Talk about some of the issues raised during the Safety Briefings during your walkabouts, ensure the message has been received an understand by the workers.
- Give out some supporting documents to ensure key elements are understood (safety cards, 3 folds, bulletins, etc.)
- Focus your site observations on the specific topic presented during the Safety Briefings.