Safety and Communication Best Practices
We take our commitment to the safety of our employees and our jobsites very seriously. We want to create a culture of safety, as well as a culture where it’s safe to speak up and out about any concerns. And while we can implement policies, perform safety checks and give out corrections or reprimands when it makes sense, the true key to a safe environment is communication.
Here, we present some tips on keeping the lines of communication open, to keep employees safe and jobsites running smoothly.
Whether you’re the strong and silent type, or you spend your breaks spinning big fish tales for your work pals, everyone has a voice. Find yours, and use it. In workplaces where employees are conducting dangerous tasks, speaking up could mean the difference between life and death, or at the least, a serious injury. If you see someone violating a safety regulation, say something—not to get them in trouble, but to ensure they don’t hurt themselves or someone else.
Speak the Same Language
When employees are working a jobsite together, they must be on the same page. Make sure your employees are using the same vocabulary for safety-related situations so there’s never any confusion. Set up some basic words or phrases for common situations, and clarify with employees exactly what they mean, and what the appropriate response would be.
Prepare to go Non-Verbal
There are times that employees, for a variety of reasons, won’t be able to communicate through speech. In these instances, you need to have a series of hand signals prepared that employees can use to give warnings of unsafe situations. Compile them on a flyer, hang them up and distribute them to employees so there’s never any confusion about which signal means what.
Be the Change
If you’re a foreman or a supervisor, set an example through your own communications with employees. Be clear, succinct and direct in discussing safety issues with them. Let them know the best ways to report a concern, where and how to ask questions, and what to do in the moment should they witness a safety hazard. Studies have shown that most employees prefer to hear safety information directly from a supervisor, so whenever possible, make the communication personal. When you have a big, important message, deliver it via several platforms: in person, over email, on the company website, etc.
Finally, remember that old saying about an ounce of prevention? Instilling safe behaviors and utilizing positive communication styles are much more effective than reactionary discipline and negative messages.
Whether you’re an employee, a supervisor, or a client, always remember that safety starts with you, so start communicating. Speak up when something doesn’t feel right, and never be afraid to ask questions. If you end up helping someone avoid a preventable injury, you’ll be glad you did.
As always, we welcome questions and feedback about our safety practices. If you’d like to get in touch with us, please do so on our Contact Form.