Safety Culture: Why Your Company Needs Regular Safety Meetings - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Safety Culture: Why Your Company Needs Regular Safety Meetings

Photo: ASI Landscape Management

If safety is something your lawn care or landscape company claims to be a priority, one way to match your words with your actions is to conduct regular safety meetings.

While these can take time or delay your start on a certain day, they also help convey to your team that safety truly does come first at your organization.

The frequency of your safety meetings will depend on what works best for your company. Some have found it best to have them once a week or bi-weekly. At a minimum, you should hold safety meetings once a month. If setting aside time to talk about safety feels like a hassle, consider your outlook on safety, as a strong safety culture starts at the top.

Keeps Safety Top of Mind

One of the main benefits of having regular safety meetings with your team is it helps reduce risks as your team understands you take safety seriously.

No one on your team is actively trying to find unsafe ways to work, but some may not be aware of certain best safety practices, especially if they’re new to the industry or if they’ve developed bad habits from years of doing it a particular way.

By discussing the safe way to complete tasks, you can keep safety top of mind and make them aware of some of the hazards they can face while working on the job.

Improves Communication

Regular safety meetings also encourage open communication between crew members and managers. One of the most important safety topics to discuss is near misses. If your team doesn’t feel comfortable sharing near misses, it is much harder to identify the underlying issue and eventually, a close call can turn into an actual accident.

Your employees are far more likely to share these if they feel their input is acted upon and that they are not going to be punished for a near-miss occurring. Make it clear that your team they cannot over-report, only under-report. Have a positive environment where you want to know about these incidents and create an action plan to prevent them from happening again.  

Team members can also share their experiences and best practices for staying safe on the job during safety meetings.

Addresses Current Issues

Safety meetings also provide an opportunity to highlight current issues your company may be experiencing. Addressing these safety concerns in a group setting can ensure everyone is on the same page and get to the root of the problem.

For instance, the construction company Faith Technologies noticed a pattern of safety incidents caused by knives on the job site, so they eliminated fixed-blade knives on their projects. Safer tools and processes were introduced, resulting in a 100% reduction of knife-related incidents across sites.

Shows Commitment to Safety

Prioritizing education and training on safety can also boost employee morale and loyalty as they feel valued and cared for, rather than just a number.

“Lead by example and give your team all the education and tools they need to be safe, not only for themselves but their team members and our clients,” says Donald Mahoney Jr., owner and president of Mahoney Associates. “We constantly remind our team members they are no good to their families, themselves or the company if they are injured because they did not follow proper safety protocols.”

Keys to Effective Safety Meetings

Holding safety meetings regularly is important, but it can be easy to end up going through the motions due to the frequency. Make sure the topics you select for these safety meetings are relevant to the work you have going on and the season you’re in. You can access a number of different safety topic resources here.

There are a number of ways to keep your safety meetings fresh – including having different individuals lead the training, bringing in vendors to speak about safety, or adding quizzes/asking employees true false questions about the information just covered.

Talking about safety doesn’t mean much if half your team doesn’t understand so make sure you are providing all your safety meetings and material in both English and Spanish.

To drive home the point of how much safety matters, you can also recognize people on your team who have demonstrated good safety practices. This can be anything from simple verbal recognition in front of everyone or giving away awards and prizes for the safest crews.

“Pacific Federal Management also implements a monetary award and company-wide recognition system where ‘good catches’ are reported and used to develop future training efforts,” says Robert Salas II, president of Pacific Federal Management. “Everyone has a chance to submit a ‘good catch’ at any time, which creates a culture geared towards identifying and not hiding problems. The incentive system is created to empower all personnel to take part and contribute to the safety program on a daily basis.”

Proud of your company’s safety achievements? Get recognized by entering NALP’s Safety Recognition Awards by June 3, 2024.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.