Safety Meetings: Are They Necessary?

July 10th, 2020

Protecting Construction Workers 

Construction sites are dangerous. It is the duty of all construction companies to take steps to prevent injuries on a construction site. One method of ensuring safety at a construction site is through regular safety meetings hosted by each company for the protection of their workers.  

Unfortunately, many construction companies fail to have routine safety meetings with their workers, to the detriment of the workers.  A construction company’s failure to properly host safety meetings may result in the construction company being held liable for a construction worker’s injuries. 

Safety Meetings are Required by Law 

Safety meetings on a construction site are not optional. Construction workers are entitled to safety meetings for their personal safety. Under California Code of Regulations, Title 8 Section 1509, construction companies are required to host safety meetings known as “Tailgate meetings” or “Toolbox meetings” at least every 10 working days. 

A construction company’s failure to properly conduct safety meetings may result in substantial monetary penalties. Most importantly however, a construction company’s failure to conduct a safety meeting can result in injury or death to a construction worker who was not properly briefed on an important safety topic. 

What should be Discussed in a Safety Meeting? 

A safety meeting can consist of an array of topics and be as brief as 10 to 15 minutes in length. It is important that the topics remain relevant to the work being performed by the construction workers. 

Sample topics include: materials, work practices, heavy machinery, and tools. The meeting can also be used to address problems that have arisen within the construction site, such as potential hazards that have emerged. The safety meeting can also address recent injuries or near-accident incidents. 

A great source for safety meeting topics can be found on the “Tailgate Safety Meeting Topics” worksheet, provided by the California Department of Industrial Relations and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“CAL/OSHA”). 

Follow the link to access the topic worksheet: 

How to Effectively Conduct a Safety Meeting 

The California Department of Industrial Relations and CAL/OSHA provide great insight on effectively conducting a safety meeting. The following are some of their recommendations: 

· Have the safety meeting on the jobsite · Have the meeting at the beginning of the shift or during break · Choose topics carefully · Topics should be relevant to the job · Choose a narrow topic · Make the safety meeting practical · Encourage workers to engage in the safety meeting · Talk about personal experiences · Keep the meeting 10-15 minutes · Reflect on the safety meeting · Assess the effect of the safety meeting · Record the safety meeting 

The Benefits of a Safety Meeting 

Not only can safety meetings help prevent injuries, but they can also increase comradery between workers and as a result, the safety meetings incentivize workers to protect their co-workers from being injured. The safety meetings also remind workers of their training and safety rules, which prompts workers to act according to a possible hazard. 

Safety meetings also assist construction companies succeed. In addition to preventing injuries, which can prove costly for a construction company, safety meetings also help construction companies increase productivity, sustain worker morale, and assure that workers are prepared for the job. 

Furthermore, safety meetings can inform construction companies of potential hazards. Safety meetings give construction workers the opportunity to discuss potential hazards not already known to a construction company’s management team. Construction workers performing the job are generally the best suited to spot potential hazards. Conducting safety meetings can prove to be the best opportunity for construction companies to learn of potential hazards. 

Succeeding in a third party personal injury claim takes a track record of success. Insurance companies have strategies in place to pay the least amount possible, despite the needs of the injured. Here at Kramer Trial Lawyers, we have the experience and the track record to seek justice for your injuries. In April 2018, we were able to give our client who had been injured on a construction site, a Jury Verdict for nearly $3 million. 

If you or a loved one has been harmed on a construction site, KTL is here to help.