Workplace safety is not always the most fun or humorous topic to cover. This is especially true when you communicate safety topics to your work crews often. While this website was created to provide safety pros with a large number of free resources to use for safety meetings, we also do not want the content you cover to be dry.
While it is not always possible (or appropriate) to add humor into every safety meeting or moment, using humor can be a great way to change up your next safety talk. In this post, we dive into three ideas on how to incorporate humor into a safety meeting.
1. Share Funny Stories or Experiences Related to the Safety Topic
One of the most natural ways to add humor into a safety talk is by sharing a story. We have all witnessed humorous events, or just decisions individuals have made on the job that made us scratch our heads.
Reflect back on the story and tell it in first person to capture the audience. Use body movement and emotion when telling the story. Do not be afraid to slow down, or even pause, when delivering a punchline to allow the audience to follow along with the story and react.
Remember, this is not a standup comedy show, but do not be afraid to share the story like you were telling an old friend that you were comfortable with. Use the lessons learned from the story to transition into the specific safety topic that you are covering for the day.
Two Real Life Examples
I was on a jobsite with a project manager doing a site walk. As we are looking at the work being completed, a group of geese flew over head and one relieved itself as it crossed above us. The crap fell and hit the project manager perfectly in the chin as he was looking up at the birds.
I often used this story at future meetings as part of a safety message about wildlife in the workplace, or being in the line of fire.
Another situation was when a client of ours had to use a fire extinguisher at the local gas station next to the project site to put out a fire in a vehicle that stopped in the parking lot. While the client was successful in putting out the fire, he had a lot of trouble accessing the extinguisher and getting it to work.
With the client’s permission I retold the story with my own “flair” on it exaggerating the issues he had trying to put this fire out while adding comical details on how he looked like a hero as he did it. I incorporated inside jokes about the gas station itself that the workers would easily get.
I used the story to go into a safety topic regarding emergency equipment. We discussed the importance of understanding where emergency equipment is located, if it is accessible, and if it is in proper working condition in case it is needed.
The crew enjoyed the safety talk and it was a good use of time since we covered relevant and important safety information.
Never try to make a meeting funny at the expense of another person. Always strive to use older stories that do not involve someone in the group, or naming someone from the organization. If you do use someone else or their story like my fire extinguisher example, always get permission prior to doing so.
2. Use Humorous Video or Pictures as Part of the Safety Meeting
We have all seen the ridiculous workplace safety videos (or the lack thereof) on the various social media platforms. Normally these videos show workers taking extreme and unnecessary risks. Sometimes it ends in a humorous way, other times not so much.
While not every video or picture will be relevant to the work that you are doing, you can often find broader lessons learned or best practices to share that relate to your operation. The video below is just one I found by typing in “funny work moment” on Youtube.
This is a quick video, but it can provide a comical twist to your meeting. This video is a good example to explain how a seemingly irrelevant video can be used to communicate safety messages relevant to your operation.
You can use this video in many different ways to help communicate a safety message, even if the operation depicted in the video takes place at your workplace.
For example, from this video you can discuss:
- Why it is important to avoid horseplay in the workplace.
- Decision-making and thinking things through.
- The dangers of working alone. i.e. what would happen if this guy was working alone and what safeguards can be put in place for lone workers.
- Not putting yourself in danger when helping another worker. (The other employee put himself and the stuck employee at-risk for injury if the tires were to shift)
Do not show graphic photos and videos. While they can really reinforce why workers need to work safe, they can be extremely off putting. Not everyone is comfortable with seeing videos or pictures of injuries.
3. Use Funny Safety Slogans or Sayings
There are some humorous safety sayings out in the world of the internet. In fact, we included some in our safety slogan post that we published last month. These safety sayings can be used as a part of a longer safety meeting, or you can focus on sharing the slogan itself and building your message around that.
Examples of Humorous Safety Slogans
Machines and tools do not have brains- use your own.
Guard your coworkers’ safety- even the ones you don’t like.
By half-jokingly using a saying like the one above at some point in your safety message or ending your safety meeting with it, you can get a chuckle out of some of the workers. While there is truth in the message, these sayings can be really cheesy to the workers. If incorporated correctly, they can be funny while still getting your message across.
Out of the three tips in this post, this can be the most difficult to pull off. Ensure you have a plan how you can make the safety slogan add more humor into the message you are conveying.
Questions to Consider Prior to Being the Funny Safety Guy or Gal
- Is this safety topic appropriate to joke about?
- Is my audience alright with adding humor into this message?
- Am I making the most out of the time I have to communicate safety?
Do not be afraid to use humor in your next safety meeting. If executed well, your audience will appreciate the effort and you may find that your meeting is more impactful. Consider the tips throughout this post to ensure that you are considering your audience, and the goal of your safety meeting prior to doing something out of the box.
Don’t Be Afraid to be Different
The goal of this website is to empower safety pros, and not being afraid to use humor in a safety meeting is a great way to be different than others in this field. Experiment and try different approaches to improve the safety program in your workplace.
As a safety pro, you can know every regulation or safety statistic, but without effectively communicating with others and getting buy-in for safety improvement, it is all for nothing.
Find More Resources
In addition to trying to add humor to your next safety meeting, browse our behavioral safety talks to get unique or out-of-the-box ideas. Explaining the WHY behind the WHAT of safety is often critical in getting employees to make sustained changes that lead to meaningful changes.