workers in yellow vests doing pre-job brief

Getting the Most Out of Your Pre-Job Briefs

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

Effective and interactive pre-job briefs are an essential way to start the day and keep people safe. Unfortunately, in some organizations, these meetings are simply a “check the box” activity that is repetitive and stale. Field leaders go through the motions and read items off a piece of paper, then quickly get back to work. In other companies, pre-job briefs are robust and interactive. Hourly employees often speak up during these sessions and sometimes lead the meetings.

So why do pre-job briefs matter anyway?

Throughout the course of any given day, there are a number of unforeseen circumstances that pop up and put people at risk (e.g., proper equipment not available, changing weather conditions). Plus, ongoing challenges like complacency and normalized deviation set in and further jeopardize safe work practices. Effective pre-job briefs raise situational awareness and encourage peer-to-peer safety feedback to prevent incidents. They also help ensure proper planning, job assignments, anticipation of potential hazards, and mitigation steps if needed.

So how well are you doing with pre-job briefs? Answer yes or no to the items below and see if you’re on the right track.

· Documented tailboards are conducted before the start of all work or shifts.

· Tailboards address potential hazards, special precautions, energy source controls, PPE etc.

· Employees fully understand the work to be done and who’s responsible for work items.

· Employees ask questions, provide input, share suggestions, and communicate fully during job briefs.

· Emergency procedures including first aid, CPR, defibrillators etc. are fully understood.

· Re-tailboards are done as needed if conditions or personnel change.

If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, you’re doing a great job with pre-job briefs. If not, take active steps now to ensure pre-job brief documents guide all steps of job planning, hazard recognition, and hazard mitigation. Also, encourage more active participation from employees and make sure all job and task assignments are clear. Improving your pre-job briefs now will help prevent incidents and injuries in the future.

At Propulo, we work with leaders to improve pre-job briefs to encourage discretionary effort and prevent incidents and injuries.

Take the following online Self-Assessments to gauge the current effectiveness of your Pre-job Briefs/Tailboards:

Additional online Mini-Assessments are available at


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