H & S Ice Breakers for Successful Training Sessions

Some Examples of H & S Ice Breakers

Part of my role is training managers and workers in health and safety. I believe you need to get people engaged with health and safety right from the beginning because let’s face it, it could be considered a boring subject. In order to counteract that I have some interactive sessions, I use to start any training programs. And here are my favourite four H & S ice-breakers for training purposes…

Interactive session options

1.Unlucky Dip

Put relevant props in a black bag.

A: Delegates grab an item at random then discuss its relevance to the chosen H & S topic.

A ‘carcinogen bag’ for example, could include a face mask, a safety data sheet, a pack of cigarettes, suntan lotion, Macmillan badge, NHS sign, asbestos sign, a picture of occupational health nurse/doctor, health record mock-up, iceberg symbol, COSHH guidance. Props can include symptoms pictures, words written on cards, pictograms showing statistics.

2. Who is responsible for occupational health, safety and management issues on a site?

This shows the differences between ‘occupational health’ and ‘safety’ issues and opens up discussions.  Who would/should take the lead in the following incidents/issues occurring at work in an ideal world – ‘occupational health’ or ‘safety’ or someone else? Maybe a designated Manager or HR?

A: Discuss in groups, the following and who is responsible?

What is most interesting is how the group define the term ‘responsible’ and how it translates into actual management or actions. Choose any number of these issues depending on the type of session or training you are running. or add your own topics relevant to the training subjects.

There is no real right answer –  and each organisation will have different discussions around the subject

Broken wristWellbeingDisplay Screen Equipment
Drug and Alcohol TestingFirst AidStopping Smoking
Work Exposure LimitsReporting health issuesFace fit testing
Fitness for workLocal Exhaust VentilationWorkplace assessments
Training workersAbsenceAudit
Purchasing suppliesReviewing risk assessmentStress
Choosing PPEHealth RecordsSafety Data Sheets

3. The straw walk

Illnesses such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cause shortness of breath. If it’s appropriate and your delegates are all in reasonable good health, ask them to take ‘The straw walk’.

A: Each person takes a straw and asked to run up and down a flight of stairs, breathing through a straw in their mouth.  They should not breathe through their noses. 

The exercise demonstrates how uncomfortable it is to breathe with reduced lung capacity. Discuss the effects.picture of people meeting4. The phone call

The trainer’s phone rings and they take an ‘urgent’ message to say that there is an issue with a hazardous exposure on their site – no one has ever paid attention to it before.  A government enforcement officer is on their way to the site but they caller had an early tip-off.  The caller needs an action plan now. What should they do first?  They need help and are panicking.

A: Work in groups to set up a plan. After feedback to the group on what you have decided and why.

Take a hazard or a situation which is common with the workers that you’re dealing with; so for example, it might be you’re in a construction training session and the neighbours complaining about the amount of noise (bit.ly/2t3VDYX) or workers are seen on top of scaffolding (bit.ly/2t4lTlY) without any shirts on or no fall arrest protection. (bit.ly/2t46li4) You are looking for the right priorities and delegation of tasks.

Choose an H & S Ice Breaker

Choose one or change a couple of these for your own use.  Have you got any successful H & S ice breakers you can share if so I’d love to hear about them?


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