Understanding Workplace Safety Communication

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your employees. You can do this by introducing clear, concise, and effective workplace safety communication. This will help you to effectively communicate your policies and practices, as well as prevent injuries and accidents.

There are many ways to communicate safety standards in the workplace. You can deliver messages through a variety of channels, from traditional workplace notices to personal emails and even video announcements.

You may also use bespoke software that is designed to improve health and safety communications.

To help you get started, here are some of our top tips for communicating workplace safety. But first, let’s understand the consequences of poor communication:

Examples of Poor Workplace Safety Communication

Communication is key to the smooth running of any business, but it’s particularly important to workplace safety. Poor communication can not only lead to serious accidents and injuries but also to an increase in absenteeism, turnover, and compensation claims.

Here are some examples of poor communication in the workplace:

  • Not communicating clearly can leave employees confused about what’s expected of them.
  • Not informing workers about potential hazards can lead to accidents and injuries. For example, if a worker isn’t told about a wet floor or a broken piece of equipment, they may slip or injure themselves by using it.
  • Not telling employees about changes in health and safety regulations will mean they may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities at work.
  • Not listening to workers’ concerns and suggestions means that you may miss out on valuable information that could prevent accidents from happening in the future.

Lastly, not using the right tools and strategies is also a safety communication mistake.

Workplace Safety Communication: 8 Tips to Communicate Effectively

Image alt text: An engineer inspecting workplace safety communication

  1. Identify your goals. 

Before you start putting together any sort of communication plan, consider what it is exactly that you want to accomplish. What do you want people in your organization to know about workplace safety? What specific behaviors do you want them to adopt?

  1. Identify your audience.

Once your overall goals are clear, consider who it is that will be receiving those messages. Are there any special considerations for certain populations? Are there unique barriers or concerns that need to be addressed?

  1. Determine the best method of communication. 

How will you reach each group in your target audience? Consider whether text, e-mail, posters, or verbal announcements would work best. Think about how often your information needs to be repeated and at what times — before work, on breaks, or during special meetings, for example.

  1. Create a safety plan

Before you can begin to communicate safety standards in the workplace, you must first create a plan. Even if your company already has a plan in place, you should evaluate its effectiveness and consider making changes where necessary.

The easiest way to create an effective safety plan is to examine the most common accidents that take place in your specific industry and find ways to prevent them from happening again. Make sure everyone involved understands the plan and how it will be enforced.

  1. Send out reminders

Once your safety plan is in place, you need to make sure people follow it. It is human nature for people to become less cautious over time as they get used to their surroundings. That’s why it’s so important to send out regular reminders about safety standards, even if nothing has changed since last time.

You can do this easily with an automated SMS or email system or by using social media posts and newsletters. If someone does get injured on the job, make sure everyone knows about it, so they understand the importance of staying safe at all times.

  1. Make training more engaging

The best way to get your employees engaged is by making them active participants in their own training. Instead of having them sit through hours of lectures and videos, incorporate interactive exercises into their training. You can do this online or offline — just make sure that it’s fun and engaging!

  1. Provide ongoing education

Your employees’ education doesn’t stop when they complete their initial training period. It’s important for them to continue learning throughout their careers so they can stay up-to-date on new developments in the industry.

One way you can help with this is by providing ongoing educational opportunities such as seminars and conferences. This will keep your employees engaged while also giving them an opportunity to network with others in their field.

  1. Not all safety communication is hazard-based. 

Sometimes, it’s only necessary to remind people to be careful and aware of their surroundings. That’s why some workplaces have signs posted everywhere reminding people to mind their steps and look out for hazards.

You may have seen things like “Caution: Wet Floor” or “Watch Your Step” in a variety of everyday situations. These are effective tools for getting people’s attention and keeping them safe.

Communicate Workplace Safety: 11 Different Strategies that Work

Workplace safety communication covers a lot of ground. Many companies have safety manuals, safety bulletin boards, and safety committees.

OSHA requires that employers provide training in a language their workers understand. If you operate a bilingual workplace, you must provide training in both languages. It’s not sufficient to simply rely on your employees’ ability to speak English.

This requirement is covered by OSHA’s General Duty Clause and the OSHA Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 654).

Here are some resources to tap into:

  1. Safety videos

Videos are another way to communicate important health and safety information. Like meetings, they can be used to communicate new hazards or changes in protective equipment. Videos should be customized for your worksite whenever possible.

  1. Safety meetings

Meetings are one of the most effective and easiest ways to communicate safety concerns and update employees on changes in safety policy. They can also be used to discuss recent incidents and teach new safety techniques to your staff.

  1. Safety signs

Safety signs are another highly effective way of communicating safety policies and expectations. There are literally hundreds of safety signs available for purchase online, so you can find exactly what you need for your industry. Some of the common types of signs include danger signs, caution signs, notice signs, and fire protection signs.

  1. Personalized training

Safety training is a form of communication. It’s especially effective when it’s personalized for a particular job or task.

For example, electrical contractors should receive training on how to work safely with electricity, even if they are experienced workers. Training should include information on specific hazards, such as arc flash, CPR first aid training, as well as appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe work practices.

Electrical contractors who receive this type of safety training will be better prepared to work safely with electricity and will have less risk of injury on that job compared to those who haven’t received this type of personalized safety training.

  1. Safety training toolkit

A safety training toolkit can be an invaluable resource for any workplace safety manager. It can provide everything needed for teaching your staff about health and safety procedures, including DVDs, workbooks, posters, and booklets.

More Safety Communication Tools 

  • Safety manuals and employee handbooks
  • Training programs and presentations
  • Online training resources
  • Safety newsletters or magazines
  • Visual aids
  • Checklists

The best workplace safety communication tools are those that are easily accessible, straightforward, and efficient. They will also be relatable, engaging, and encouraging.

Workplace Safety Communication Tools

When most people think about workplace safety, they probably envision protective equipment, ergonomics, and first aid training. But those are only a small part of the picture.

Safety also requires effective communication. If a workplace hazard isn’t communicated properly, it can’t be resolved.

What follows is a brief overview of some essential workplace safety communication tools every company should have:

Communication tools for everyone. 

These days, almost everyone has a smartphone. People can use them to access apps that promote safety and health in the workplace. Some apps contain useful information about specific hazards for employees to refer to on the job. Others let employees report hazards directly to management, so they can be resolved as quickly as possible.

Communication tools for management. 

Managers need communication tools too — but instead of reporting hazards, they need to send out alerts and coordinate responses to them when they occur.

There are software packages designed specifically for this purpose, which allow managers to contact all employees at once via text message or email and send out safety bulletins as necessary.

Communication tools for specific departments or locations. 

Certain workplaces are more hazardous than others — construction sites, for example, or chemical plants — and sometimes these locations require their own specialized forms of communication too.

Some companies set up two-way radio systems with headsets so that workers can keep their hands free while still staying in touch with each other, or even radios with built-in personal locator services for use by people who work alone in remote areas.

Last Words on Workplace Safety Communication

Effective safety communication is essential to the prevention of workplace injuries. Communication with workers and management can be enhanced with certain electronic tools.

These tools can be accessed and updated at any time, creating a more efficient way to keep all members of a workplace safety team informed. The tools can range from email alerts to mobile apps and SMS messages.