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How To Give Your Team A Safety Pep Talk

How To Give Your Team A Safety Pep Talk

Haelee Reis
Haelee Reis
Head of Marketing and Program
Caitlin Kirwan
Caitlin Kirwan
Writer and Contributor
Haelee Reis
October 12, 2023

Even organizations with top-notch safety strategies aren’t immune to accidents in the workplace.

Over time, employees can become overconfident and less aware of risks if they’re not regularly reminded about the importance of safety. Giving your team a safety pep talk helps minimize avoidable accidents and reinforces a positive culture of safety. This blog explores what safety pep talks are, why they matter, how to know if one is needed, and what to include. 

Let’s get started!

What is a safety pep talk? 

A safety pep talk is a bitesize briefing that refreshes knowledge and motivates employees around safety. Sometimes referred to as ‘toolbox talks’ or ‘safety moments’, they aim to increase awareness, encourage participation and drive engagement with safety-related topics.  

Unlike a safety stand down event, which involves operations being paused, a safety pep talk is much shorter and lasts anything from 5-20 minutes. They are typically around the 5-minute mark and can either focus on a single point or cover multiple topics. 

Why are safety pep talks important?  

Safety pep talks provide a vital connection point between leaders and employees to focus on important safety topics and ensure everyone stays alert. 

These short, sharp talks help reduce workplace accidents and focus attention on health and safety. 

One of the most important steps for improving safety performance in the workplace is to encourage participation and engagement across the entire organization. Regular safety pep talks help to build this involvement and make safety part of everyday vocabulary.

Frequent safety pep talks ensure safety knowledge is continually refreshed and up-to-date, with one study of construction workers finding that holding short daily safety talks with employees reduces workplace incidents by up to 82% compared to monthly meetings. 

It’s all about consistency. 

And consistently talking about safety in digestible, bite-sized chunks helps to:

✔️ Keep employees up-to-date with changes to safety policies and procedures

✔️ Build positive habits and maintain engagement with safety 

✔️ Increase adherence to safety procedures and protocols 

How to know if you need to give your team a pep talk on safety

While it’s beneficial to have a consistent schedule of regular safety meetings and check-ins, there are times when leaders need to deliver a safety pep talk in response to some key signs. 

Some of the signs are obvious, such as an increase in workplace accidents or near-misses. 

But some of the signs are more subtle, including:   

⚠️ Team members not wearing the required PPE

⚠️ A notable reduction in the number of workplace hazards or incidents being reported by employees 

⚠️ Disorganized or cluttered workstations 

⚠️ Team members missing safety training or failing to complete e-learning courses 

⚠️ Equipment not being used correctly 

⚠️ Employee absence increasing

Any of these signs can indicate the need for a safety pep talk to help re-focus attention and get things back on track.  

6  topics to cover in your safety pep talks

So, you’ve set a regular schedule for your safety pep talks, and are on your way to creating a positive safety culture and reducing workplace accidents. There’s just one more thing…

What do you actually talk about in the pep talk!?   

The topics will, of course, vary depending on the organization overall and the team receiving the talk. But certain safety topics apply to all teams across all organizations. 

We’ve listed 6 of these topics to provide some ideas of what to cover in your safety pep talks: 

1. Reporting accidents and near misses

Safety reporting is an important task for every organization.

A comprehensive incident reporting system and process enables organizations to learn from mistakes, ensure near-misses don’t turn into accidents, and build a positive feedback loop with employees. But a safety reporting system is only ever effective if team members are actively using it.  

A safety pep talk provides the perfect opportunity to remind employees about when and how they should be reporting accidents and near-misses. 

{{ Learn more with our One-on-One Employee Feedback eBook here }}

2. Preventing back injuries 

Back injuries account for 1 in every 5 workplace injuries or illnesses in the US each year.

Using a safety pep talk to remind team members about the correct protocols for manual handling can keep safety front-of-mind and discourage risk-taking. 

Many employees will need to have more in-depth manual handling training, but a brief safety pep talk on preventing back injuries offers a great reminder of weight restrictions and techniques to minimize lower back stress.  

3. Slips, trips, and falls 

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common cause of injuries at work, causing around 40% of all reported major workplace injuries in the UK. 

This is the perfect topic to discuss in a safety pep talk because the majority of these accidents can be avoided. Most slips, trips, and falls happen because of wet or contaminated flooring, unsuitable footwear, uneven surfaces, or poor lighting. 

4. Alcohol 

While it can be a difficult topic to talk about, it’s important to discuss the dangers of being under the influence of alcohol while at work.  

During a safety pep talk, remind team members about the amount of time it takes your body to process a unit of alcohol (check out this helpful fact sheet from Drinkaware), and the risks of still having alcohol in your system when going to work the next morning. 

5. Display screen equipment (DSE)

Using DSE is the norm for many workplaces, but poor posture and incorrect usage lead to some of the most common workplace injuries, including repetitive strain injuries, eye strain, and shoulder pain.

A safety pep talk about correct DSE usage could include a demonstration on how best to set up a monitor and guidance on avoiding eye strain.   

6. Electrical fire risk

It’s not uncommon to look around an office a see a number of employee-owned electrical devices plugged in, such as phone chargers, coffee pod machines, and even hair straighteners (...guilty!). 

But what happens when one of these devices is faulty, overheats and creates a spark that could start a fire? While that might sound a bit extreme, faulty equipment that overheats and causes sparks is the most common cause of fires in the workplace

Having a quick chat with employees about electrical equipment safety and PAT testing, which is a requirement in many countries, is a great way to increase awareness of the risks and the rules. 

{{ Learn more with our Culture of Safety eBook here }}

The PepTalk platform makes pep talks easier

PepTalk is a purpose-built Team Experience platform that has been designed around behavioral psychology to increase employee engagement and enable teams to perform at their best. 

We make it easier to give safety pep talks to your teams by providing leading KPIs around engagement that help to improve safety performance. 

To learn more about our winning formula – Check-In, Action, Insight – get in touch to book a demo!

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