Communication is crucial for developing a culture of workplace safety. You need to figure out how to make safety training more fun and engaging, and how to encourage people to retain that information over the long haul. A healthy back-and-forth between employees and management can turn well-meaning objectives into a well-run routine of compliance.
Often, regular levels of communication aren’t enough. Repetition and reinforcement turn procedures into practice. Over-communication, then, becomes the key to improving workplace safety over the long haul.
Another Kind of Safe Space
The idea of safety has many different meanings. In business, we usually mean protecting workers’ physical well-being. But when communication becomes involved, another connotation comes to mind: the proverbial “safe space.”
The term has become a bit of a cultural cliche at this point. But the underlying idea applies here. To reach maximum compliance, you need your employees to feel safe to speak out and safely to talk to one another.
Just one example of what we mean: A study performed by Safety Performance Solutions Inc. showed that employees are often shy to talk to each other about safety issues. SPS’s survey indicated that 90% of employees believe they should warn coworkers when they see a safety protocol breach. However, only 60% have a conversation when they see something risky.
That discrepancy is largely the result of culture. The company needs to create an atmosphere that encourages discussion and reinforcement. In other words, you need a “safe space” in both meanings of the term. Over-communication (rather than just communication) can get you there.
Using Over-communication to Improve Workplace Safety
How can you make this happen in practice? How can you encourage a healthy discussion about safety issues? Here are some tips for fostering over-communication within the workplace and encouraging a culture of safety:
Invest in Training
Create a firm basis for communication by providing a comprehensive training program. Start with each fresh recruit, making sure they understand the safety protocols inside and out. From there, schedule regular refresher courses to keep everyone up to date and to highlight important points of emphasis.
Make Reinforcement Routine
Live safely every day. Don’t have a set of pristine protocols that everyone ignores daily to accelerate production. If you see someone break a safety procedure, correct them. As much as possible, keep these interactions constructive, but remain firm in your intention to maintain compliance.
Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Your Message
Repetition is the heart of the over-communication strategy. Don’t be shy about repeating something. And again. And again. Safety precautions should become mantras that everyone internalizes. Repeating instructions makes this possible.
Ask for Feedback
Communication should go both ways. Encourage workers to talk to management and to talk to each other. This will let you perfect your safety program and make everyone feel involved in the process.
Build a Safer Manufacturing Workforce
Developing a good safety rapport allows you to optimize production while minimizing risk. That process starts with the right workers. By teaming with a strong recruiting partner, like LaborMAX, you can find the ideal members for your team.
Contact LaborMAX Staffing today to learn how you can maximize your safety program.