26 Safety Meeting Topics To Reduce Risk in a Workplace

Updated March 10, 2023

A warehouse worker holding a clipboard and wearing a safety vest checks inventory.

Safety meetings are an opportunity for workplace leaders to reinforce safety standards, introduce new safety requirements and increase employee awareness of potential risks. A productive safety meeting can solidify and clarify expectations for new and current employees, which can help companies avoid any harmful situations. Learning more about the meetings and the subjects you may discuss in them can help you better optimize the safety regulations for a company.

In this article, we explain what workplace safety meetings are and provide a list of 26 topics to consider for your next meeting.

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What are workplace safety meetings?

Workplace safety meetings, which some companies call toolbox talks, are briefings regarding safety measures specific to your team's daily tasks. Leaders usually host safety meetings during onboarding to introduce new team members to safety standards and regulations, after someone violates safety guidelines to remind employees of the best practices and when these standards change to help ensure everyone on staff understands the new procedures.

Safety meetings can take place in any industry, but these sectors are likely to have an increased focus on workplace safety and may require more meetings as a result:

  • Industry and manufacturing

  • Construction

  • Landscaping

  • Material handling

  • Maintenance

  • Security and policing

  • Firefighting

  • Public utilities

  • Trades

Related: Workplace Safety Inspection Checklist: Definition and How To Create (With Templates)

12 workplace safety meeting topics

It's important to compile a diverse list of topics to include in your training modules to ensure you address all aspects of safety relevant to a workplace. Here are some workplace safety topics to consider for your next meeting:

1. Building security

You can enhance building security by minimizing entry points for non-employees. Allowing only employees with the proper authorization into the building can help promote a culture of safety. A secure workplace usually meets the following criteria:

  • No unauthorized entry: This stipulates unauthorized people can enter the building only if they have a visitor's badge. This often applies to people who work with the company, such as vendors and business partners.

  • Locked doors: The business' doors remain locked during regular business hours to prevent unauthorized entry. Employees use a key, keycard or code to gain entry.

Related: How To Become a Security Guard

2. Lifting heavy objects

Lifting heavy objects requires techniques that minimize muscle strain. It's also important to include notices around the workplace to help ensure no one lifts an object that's too heavy for them. In your meeting, you can include discussions on how to lift heavy objects properly, when to ask for help and which tools employees can use to access things that are out of reach.

3. Reducing slips

Slips can be a risk for physical injury. It's beneficial to address the risks of slips in safety meetings to make employees aware of the severity of slips and falls. Consider encouraging situational awareness, specifically regarding wet floors and other obstructions, to avoid falls at work. This can include:

  • Knowing how to identify wet floors

  • Using wet floor signs

  • Being aware of obstructions on the floor

You can encourage employees to wear specific footwear if their work area becomes wet as a side-effect of the job. Providing the right tools to clean these messes and maintain clean workspaces also can be great ways to address this risk proactively.

Related: What Is a Safety Audit? Importance and How To Perform One

4. Stacking

Improper stacking means putting objects on top of one another in a way that can cause the pile to topple over. The two main risks with this violation are the objects falling on someone and the objects breaking. You can discuss proper stacking methods and how to recognize a potentially compromised stack in your safety briefs.

Related: 7 Crucial Safety Topics To Include in Employee Training

5. Equipment

Training employees on how to use company equipment properly can ensure production proceeds uninterrupted. Ensuring the equipment training is thorough can minimize risks and improve employees' skills. This type of briefing also can include common troubleshooting tips for equipment in the workplace.

6. Stress and burnout

Burnout occurs when the employee feels unsatisfied and tired with their work, which can lead to oversight or mistakes. It's important to include stress management in your safety training modules to help employees learn the signs of burnout. You also can address what the company offers employees to prevent burnout, such as mental health resources or PTO.

Related: 10 Ways To Demonstrate Professional Behavior in the Workplace

7. Heat exhaustion

In a setting where employees have exposure to high temperatures or other elements, it's important to educate them about heat exhaustion and heat stroke. These conditions arise from dehydration and excessive heat exposure, so consider offering a water cooler and giving employees who work in at-risk areas a chance to get away from the heat for a short amount of time. You also can train employees on the warning signs of heat exhaustion and stroke.

Related: 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know

8. Fire safety

One of the most important workplace safety topics is fire safety. A good fire safety program often includes information on:

  • Fire extinguisher locations

  • Fire alarm locations

  • Fire drills

  • Evacuation procedures

The more knowledge employees have on how to handle a fire emergency, the more prepared they can be in the event of an actual emergency. Workplaces can host fire drills to encourage and demonstrate proper evacuation procedures in the event of a fire.

9. Reporting accidents

It's important to encourage employees to quickly and accurately report any accidents that may occur. Try to encourage prompt reporting of accidents and provide easily accessible safety equipment. This can help limit the number of risks an accident provides and allow proper staff to fix it quickly.

Related: Culture of Safety in the Workplace: Definition and Traits

10. Teamwork

Encouraging good teamwork can help to prevent workplace accidents. This can include teamwork for lifting heavy objects, completing complex projects or accepting new responsibilities. Try to advise employees to communicate, and provide the right tools to enhance and facilitate good communication.

Read more: 6 Top Tips for Better Teamwork

11. Lock out/tag out procedures

Operation industrial machinery requires proper locking and tagging when the machines are under maintenance or undergoing cleaning procedures. Try to discuss locking out machines and include a visible tag employees can use to identify the machine as being "locked out" until it's cleaned or repaired. This can help ensure no one tries to use a machine that might malfunction or behave in unpredictable ways.

Related: What Is a Safety Observation? How To Conduct One in 9 Steps

12. First aid

In the workplace, first aid knowledge can benefit employees at every level. CPR knowledge can save lives, and even something as simple as knowing how to stop bleeding can be a great benefit to the team. Consider offering first aid courses, and let employees know where they can find the company's first aid kits, defibrillators and related equipment.

Related: Guide to Safety Responsibility in the Workplace (Plus Tips)

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14 topics for your next toolbox talk

Here are 14 subjects to consider educating your team members about to improve safety in the workplace:

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPE)

  2. Electrical safety

  3. OSHA regulations

  4. Winter weather dangers

  5. Hypothermia

  6. Asbestos dangers

  7. Tool inspections

  8. Ladder safety

  9. Workplace distractions

  10. Food allergies

  11. Chemical handling

  12. Waste management

  13. Sexual harassment

  14. Evacuation procedures

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