This sounds like a silly question, because there’s nothing we should be more serious about than safety! I think the correct descriptive word regarding safety meetings is dull, rather than serious. If the committee is bored, nothing good is going to come from that meeting. Having served as a secretary to record safety meeting minutes, I know first-hand: those meetings were regularly scheduled monthly required meetings, and usually, some of the members had an excuse for not being present, with the resulting time being spent going over a short and sweet agenda.
The best way to inject new life into these safety committee meetings is to have a good leader. Many times, management will place someone in charge of the safety committee or a “Safety Officer” that possibly is a department manager over, for example, maintenance. They do periodic inspections of the building, and know what its’ needs are. A Safety Officer should be someone that is interested in the security of the employees, foremost. Let the employees elect their leader. They will choose someone they like and respect, and someone who is fun to be around, committed to the job, and an excellent motivator. Co-leaders, one from management and one from the employees, could work together well, also.
Having a little fun is the key. Why not make a safety meeting special? If you are going to spend an hour or two really getting down to the safety issues where you work, give the members a few minutes to relax by having a quick snack, and open discussion about things that they have observed that relate to on-the-job safety. Another idea is to gather for lunch together, then get down to business and follow the agenda that has been sent to committee members prior to the meeting. Being organized is always the best plan. If your committee members feel more connected to their peers, they will become a more cohesive and effective team. Remember, because they work in different departments, this may be the only chance they have to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere.
Any kind of meeting is much more interesting if it has a slightly different format. Each month, invite a couple of non-members to the meeting so they can observe. They may have valid points to raise, and see that it’s not some “secret society.” If you are a member, ask if you may attend a meeting at another workplace to see how they do things. Invite them to come to your workplace and offer an outside perspective regarding your safety meetings.
You may consider term limits for the committee, so others can do their part to promote safety at work. Don’t replace the entire committee at one time, as you need safety leaders with experience at all times. Also, if your committee is enjoying serving in this capacity, others will be encouraged to do so. Meetings that offer important safety information sharing in a relaxed situation can be more productive than boring, routine ones. An end-of-the-year celebration held for all employees to express gratitude for their safe work and cooperation could give your safety curriculum that extra pizzazz! Sharing ideas about safety should be fun as well as informative.
P.S. Keep those workplace safety posters up to keep everyone reminded of the importance of working safely!