Effectively communicating and following through on workplace safety information is crucial to preventing accidents, injuries and illness. Use these strategies to build stronger communication with your team and promote a culture of safety.
Why Communication and Follow-Through Matters to Safety
Failing to effectively communicate safety information and procedures as well as failing to follow through can have serious negative consequences in the workplace including unnecessary risk-taking by employees; high workers’ compensation and insurance costs; damage to equipment, materials or the facility; failure to meet compliance regulations; accidents, injuries and illnesses; and reduced productivity due to lost workdays.
How to Communicate Safety Standards, Protocols and Procedures
It’s not enough to place posters in the break room or mention a new safety procedure in a meeting. Truly effective safety communication is:
- Thorough: Always provide the team with as much information as they need to understand the concept you are introducing or reinforcing.
- Two-way: Communication flows in two directions. Discuss the safety initiative; then allow the team to ask questions, make suggestions and express their concerns.
- Positive: Safety should always be a positive conversation. Focus on the ways in which safety makes people better at their jobs. Never berate or get aggressive as a means to achieve compliance.
Once you’re certain the team understands the concept, follow-through is an absolute must. Managers and supervisors should be watching closely to make sure procedures are being adhered to and properly executed.
Tips for Overcoming Communication Barriers
Just because you present a new safety concept doesn’t mean the team will fully understand what you’re talking about. Communication breakdowns are common, especially if managers and supervisors do not properly prepare for the safety meeting.
First and foremost, the information must be organized in a clear and logical manner. It must also be thorough but concise. Trying to spew out too much information at once will hinder the team’s ability to retain the concepts. Be clear and direct, so workers are receiving the message you are sending, rather than drawing their own conclusions.
It is also important to make time to allow employees to ask questions and air their concerns. If they feel they are not being listened to, they are much less likely to buy into what you’re saying. Allowing questions also ensures you can clear up any miscommunication that may have occurred in your presentation.
Finally, you must follow-through with reinforcing new safety information to ensure the workforce is adhering to the proper procedures. Safety is not a set-it-and-forget-it concept. Managers must lead by example and coach and correct to achieve adoption.
If your business is committed to the safety of its employees, work with a staffing agency that has a reputation for safety. DHR Staffing in Houston can match you with temporary staff who are fully trained in safety and hazards. Contact the recruiting experts at DHR Staffing today to learn more.