My company recently started requiring this 5 - 10 minute "safety topic" be performed by an employee before every meeting. It is presented as a way of making our workplace safer. In reality, they are probably getting an insurance price break by doing it.

After about 10 meetings all the obvious topics have been done and now it's my turn.

What should I do to be creative with this without running the risk of offending more just a few people?

It is an Engineering office desk job.

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  • What type of safety? Is this an industrial plant? Have you asked your coworkers? – atk Sep 25 '14 at 2:24
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    I am voting to close your question as too vague. "... without running the risk of offending some people" There will always be something that will offend someone. Your question is an infinitely open ended question. – Vietnhi Phuvan Sep 25 '14 at 2:25

Ask the company for a list of topics and material, otherwise this is just safety theater.

Putting the responsibility on the employee to pick a safety topic, prepare for the talk, and present the material shows a lack of seriousness of the requirement.

They didn't provide a mechanism to determine if the safety information is even correct or relevant.

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    "safety theater" is a good name for it. It has always struck me as really pointless and a soul crushing way to begin every single meeting. After searching around online for what would motivate a company to do this, it seems to probably be insurance-related. – safety_topics Sep 25 '14 at 2:55

I'll preface this by saying I'm a Software Engineer who works at a desk. However, we do have a Commissioning Team that goes to client sites to install the hardware/software that we develop, as well as other Electrical/Automation Engineering duties.


As far as topics go, we used to not only talk about safety topics that could affect us directly (ergonomics, washing hands, in/out procedure), but also other members of our team (pinch points, 3 point contact, client site in/out procedure, client speed limits, stay alert while driving).

Weather conditions (falling snow, bears waking up from hibernation) and accidents reported in the news (driving according to conditions, safety goggles) are also good topics, especially since they're current.

Using these greatly increases the number of topics, to the point where repetition happens at a point where it is considered a "refresher" instead of "the same thing again".

Meeting Format

The one thing that surprised me about your post was that the employees were required to come up with and speak on topics.

I've normally seen this task reserved for the Health and Safety Rep or a Manager, as it is their primary duty to ensure that their staff are working effectively and safely. This way the person talking about the topic has a vested interest in it, instead of doing it because they were told to.

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That really depends on what your goal here is. Do you want to

  1. Just get it over with
  2. Communicate to the company, that this is really a stupid idea
  3. Do something that is actually meaningful, productive and helpful

For #1 you just google "safety topic" and take the first item that remotely fits the format, fro #2 you google you cover things like "how to not burn your crocth with hot coffee", "how to handle documents to minimize the chance of paper cuts", etc. and for #3 you do some actual research and what type of accidents and/or injuries are leading for your type of work environment and pick one that might have the most impact.

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To expand a bit on Onion-Knights idea. If you are out of ideas for workplace safety, maybe look at general life safety like "the importance of carefully using knives", "how and why to inspect a ladder before use", or "call the utility company before you dig". This likely covers the requirement as you are "working towards prevention of lost time injuries" even if those injuries are not incurred in the workplace.

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