In a recent publication written by the Safety + Health Magazine, the author asserts that “safety should be easy to talk about. Given that it’s in everyone’s best interest, as a topic of conversation it should be no more controversial than discussing the weather.”

However, the author professes that discussions about safety oftentimes fall on deaf ears. Her conclusion, it isn’t so much about the messaging as it is about the delivery of the message.

The author goes on to tell us the reasoning experts believe that employees choose to ignore unsolicited safety advice. They are as follows: employees don’t like being told what to do; they don’t believe they are in danger; and where you see assistance, they may see aggression.

So how do you deliver the right messaging about safety to your employees in a way that will be well received?

  • Retire the safety police/gotcha approach and rather, take a persuasive approach that makes employees want to perform safely rather than perform out of fear of being watched.
  • Speak the workers’ language by presenting the information in a way that touches on what the employee cares about and how it directly affects them.
  • Demonstrate care and concern for the employee personally.
  • Focus on specific situations that employees can relate to rather than vague examples.
  • Get (and give) permission. Ask someone to look out for your safety and ask if you can also look out for them.
  • Don’t be intimidated.
  • Lead by example and encourage others to do the same.

“Ultimately,” the author writes, “no matter how good someone is at crafting and delivering safety messages, success will be limited if company culture doesn’t value safety or encourage collaborative give and take … Similar to any skill, the ability to initiate productive safety conversations not only must be taught, it also must be practiced. The good news is, the more workers participate in these kinds of discussions, the easier they will become, and the barriers to productive safety communication will seem less daunting.”

For the entire article, you can visit: http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/15645-speaking-of-safety

About Carmen Paulson


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