What a tail­gate meet­ing is re­ally for

New Zealand Logger - - Safety Summit -

LES BAK HAS A MES­SAGE TO CREW BOSSES AND FORE­MEN ABOUT how to con­duct bet­ter tail­gate meet­ings: throw away the check­list.

That’s just go­ing through the mo­tions and it’s not help­ing your guys – they can’t wait to get out of there quick enough, says the Nel­son Forests Health & Safety Fa­cil­i­ta­tor.

He told the For­est In­dus­try Safety & Tech­nol­ogy 2018 con­fer­ence in Ro­torua last month that when his com­pany in­sti­tuted tail­gate meet­ings they were ex­cel­lent and there was strong in­volve­ment among par­tic­i­pants.

But as time passed, tail­gate meet­ings have be­come just a series of check­lists that get ticked off and are not ful­fill­ing their pur­pose. “Tail­gate meet­ings are meant to set the plan for the day,” says Les. “It’s to dis­cuss the im­por­tant things that need to be done that day. And if you just ask if ev­ery­one is OK, that is the wrong ques­tion to ask. What you need to be ask­ing is ‘what do you need to make this job safe?’ That’s straight out of the men­tal health hand­book and it gets them think­ing and most of the time you’ll get a re­sponse to that.”

Les ad­vises crew bosses and fore­men not to go over the same risks ev­ery day – those should al­ready be known if pre­vi­ously dis­cussed.

In­stead, fo­cus on the weather to­day, do they have enough peo­ple to do the work, make sure ev­ery­one knows about what they’ve got to do, are they fit for the job and do they have the tools to do the job. Have a dis­cus­sion about those top­ics in­stead of read­ing from a check­list, he says. That way the crew will get more value from a tail­gate meet­ing and they’ll be think­ing more about the risks in­volved and how to man­age them.


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