What a tailgate meeting is really for
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.