The Importance of Communication
Who wouldn’t want to feel they want to be kept in the loop where they work? I know I would. Every employee wants to feel informed and involved with what is going on at their organization. If an employee is proud of where they work, long-term, or even new, information needs to be communicated. Well, information needs to be communicated if the company is looking towards developing their safety culture.
Informing employees on the current state of safety brings awareness, involvement, and an enhanced safety culture. When a facility is effectively communicating with employees, they have seen their engagement increase. People generally want to feel a part of and what better place to make them feel a part of than somewhere they need to be about 40 hours a week.
What Would Employees Need to Know?
Besides required Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) training which is required of employers – employees should be informed how they are performing. Without expressed recognition, employees would not know what they could improve. Workers would not even think the company cares for their safety.
Knowledge of Current Events: Accomplishments, Improvements and Feedback
There is a mass of helpful information you can begin to express to open the lines of connection between management and production workers. Examples of what I communicate with personnel include:
- Employee performance relating to Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS)
- EHS Audit Results
- Continuous Improvement Suggestion status/improvements
- Safety incidents/corrective actions
- Area audit finding results/opportunities for improvement
- Safety Committee Meeting Minutes
- Policy/procedure changes
- The status of a question they have asked
- Workplace hazards and how company policies apply to keep them safe
Communication In the Works
It’s one thing to have a safety program which specifies what to do within policies and procedures, that is great, but do workers know about it? Are you training on policy updates? Do they even know the policy exists? Do they know you are working on their recommendation? Do they know where we are at within our safety program?
Communication is extremely important and without it, nothing could successfully be accomplished. I learned early on the importance of working with others and how open communication makes the project end well.
College Projects and Workplace Safety Culture…I Am Understanding the Lesson Now
I always had the perception I did not like group projects because there was a 50% chance I would be working with someone who would slack off, not communicate with me or hold themselves accountable. Maybe they were not motivated and did not think their input would be helpful? I’m not sure.
I had a meeting with one of my college professors and I told them this concern of mine. He said “I can take note of this and move you to a different group. Keep in mind, the purpose of working as a group isn’t because you are unable to do it by yourself. The objective is to give you practice working with others who may be difficult to work with, or who may do things differently than you and receive the same outcome.”
That really stuck with me and changed my perspective. We are actually tested on our ability to work with other individuals, develop a plan and carry it out successfully. In order to do this, everyone has a role.
Okay, that’s great, but what does this have to do with communicating to employees?
We are all in the same group and on the same team; we all work for the same company. Regardless of personality types, everyone has a role to play in order to ensure work runs smoothly. In successfully interfacing with others, we are able to identify, address and work through safety issues which may come up.
We learn to do what we can by holding workers accountable, pinpointing how to motivate them to accept the safety program, and that their input is highly valued. Employees need to be empowered knowing their information is influential and has a stake in company operations.
Communication Methods: Involving Your Team
Here are some ideas of how I have conveyed the importance of safety with personnel:
- Be present and build relationships with employees as much as possible
- Bathroom Readers
- Line Meetings
- TV Monitors
- Bulletin Boards
- Signs around the facility
- Toolbox Talks
- Safety Committee Meetings
- Write a section in the company Newsletter
- Adding pictures of safe actions in signs and trainings
- Require training such as Job Hazard Analyses and reviewing PPE Assessments
- Adding safety as part of the employee review process
- Share Case Studies or Incident Reports
Include your team, inform your team, listen to your team, help your team to be the best they can be. Employee involvement and engagement is extremely important and leads, supervisors, management and executives need to support it to the best of their ability. Everyone owns safety and safety is happening all over the production floor.
Build relationships with employees through listening to their concerns and connect with them on how they are being addressed. Let your team be involved in the problem solving process. Everyone has their own stake in safety and full communication will ensure employees are aware of the commitment your company takes to safety.
Do you have any other methods you use to communicate information to employees? Do you communicate any other safety information? Comment on here and let us know!
- “10 Ways to Communicate Safety Standards Throughout Your Company.” Simplified Safety. Simplified Safety Inc. 2020. www.simplifiedsafety.com/blog/10-ways-to-communicate-safety-standards-throughout-your-company/. Accessed 1/9/20.