No, this isn’t a tailgate party before a football game, it’s a 10-15 minute on-the-job meeting held to make employees aware of work-related illnesses and accidents.
In California, these meetings are required in both the construction and tunneling industries.
The person in charge asks employees to share actual experiences, ones that they have witnessed: an on-the-job accident or near-accident. These meetings are casual and relaxed, where the workers feel comfortable talking about topics that pertain to their particular job hazards. The meetings are always about safety and health problems on the job, and employee participation is encouraged. Meetings are held to ensure rules are followed and to prevent accidents from happening.
As an example, and according to Cal/OSHA, workers are killed or injured every year because machine guards are taken off and not replaced. Typical excuses given for this type of accident are:
- “I didn’t have to time to replace it”
- “The guard slowed me down”
- “Listen, I’ve run these machines for years without guards and I’ve never been hurt”
- “I wanted to be sure the machine was running ok, just never got around to replacing the guard”.
Of course, it’s too late for the victim after the accident has occurred. Regretfully, it is then that the guards are replaced and strict rules are enforced.
Regardless of what type of company safety policy is enforced at your place of business, it is important that all workers have input to make sure they are protected from accidents and illnesses that are job-related.