Key Takeaways

- Prejob safety briefings provide employers a vehicle for effectively communicating risk and promoting internal stakeholder participation, which improves an organization’s occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS).

- Prejob and postjob briefings provide organizations an opportunity to challenge conventional wisdom, identify OHSMS gaps, and institutionalize best work practices and lessons learned.

- This article reviews key aspects of prejob safety briefings and details OSHA requirements under 29 CFR 1910.269 and 1926 Subpart V as a road map for adopting this process as a best management practice for any industry. The authors offer insights on the inclusion of leading and lagging OSH indicators to maximize impact.

Effective occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMSs) should employ prejob safety briefings to communicate residual operational risk before work is initiated. To help achieve desired safety outcomes, certain critical attributes of the prejob safety briefing process must be in place during planning, execution and follow-up including clear communication, current work procedures, situational and hazard-specific precautions or safety and health interventions, energy source controls, and PPE requirements. Like columns supporting a building, these aspects of the prejob briefing can be considered pillars of support bolstering the prejob safety process, the OHSMS and the achievement of safety outcomes.

Because risk is an inescapable reality, organizations must have a fundamental grasp of methods to achieve a tolerable level of operational risk. Safety professionals must consider best practices beyond compliance to effectively communicate to employees about hazard control methods. An effective prejob safety briefing process can provide one vehicle for worker participation as required in OHSMS consensus standards, while promoting continual improvement by challenging conventional, organizationally accepted wisdom of accepted hazard control techniques.

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