Can you imagine a football game being played without a huddle? How will the team know the strategy? Who’s doing what, when and where? What will the offensive attack look like? Consider how the game will dissolve into fumbles and errors when no one knows what the other person is doing. It would be complete mayhem.

Now imagine that happening on a jobsite. Come to think of it, don’t — the image is frightening. Workmen have more to lose than football players considering the potential for the countless dangers and likely injuries that can happen when people stop working together while operating heavy machinery.

Enter the safety huddle.

All construction pros routinely participate in safety huddles, or as some people call them, toolbox talks with their crew. Protection strategies are discussed, defensive maneuvers are planned and better choices are made to keep everyone protected and productive.

Safety huddles cover everything from training, to periodic employee meetings to weekly gatherings that outline what will happen on the job. Sometimes they’re brief and sometimes they become a forum for crew members to weigh in on potential or existing safety hazards. No matter how long or short they are, they provide an added level of security and awareness that can help workers avoid getting hurt.

Adopting a safety huddle mentality should start in the classroom. Students need the chance to lead a safety huddle and to think about what has to happen in order to keep everyone safe. Those who take charge will gain the confidence to speak up and think fast. Getting in the habit of a huddle should become as standard as teaching students how to operate a certain tool or which electrical wire goes where.

Here is a downloadable PDF  to help guide your students in leading a safety huddle. It’s full of tips and an easy-to-follow agenda that can be tailored to the assignments in your class.

When students think about their safety and the safety of others, they will become better at their craft. They will be in demand, and they will win the construction game.

Share photos of your classroom safety huddles using #NESafetyHuddle.