Effectively communicating safety is a topic all interested stakeholders need to increase awareness. Not only is it required by law, but is reduces workers’ compensation program costs and promotes a better workplace. When communicating safety, proactive employers and other interested stakeholders often struggle to find an effective means of communication with employees.
Effective Safety Communication Methods
There are many things employers can do to promote workplace safety and communicate important concepts to employees. Simple suggestions that are effective include:
- Safety Equipment & Required Signs: A safety coordinator should review and determine what safety equipment is required in each area. This should include a review and determination of the location signs may be needed, and where they are needed. This consists of a review of the primary workspaces, individual offices, computer rooms, stairwells, bathrooms, other common areas, and parking garages and lots. Signage should be ordered and installed promptly. A periodic review should also take place. This is something that can be done at the beginning of each month, and include an annual audit to ensure full compliance.
- Safety Awareness Posters: Every safety program should ensure all employees are aware of safety concerns in each area or location. These can be thought-provoking or humorous signs to highlight safety issues. Never hide safety awareness signage. Make sure they are placed in high traffic areas and rotated regularly. A diverse workforce demands signs should be in all languages that are used in the workplace. These posters can be ordered from several vendors specializing in non-English signage.
- Safe Days Posters: Employers seeking to implement an effective safety program must communicate it to their entire workforce – and continue to do so on an ongoing, and regular basis. It is important to communicate to the whole workforce how well (or poorly) the safety program is working. Steps should be taken, such as recognizing, and rewarding the efforts of employees for making the workplace a safe environment. Standard tools used to promote a culture of safety can include a chart highlighting the number of consecutive workdays without an injury for the facility, and also by department. Competition between departments can add increased consciousness of safety.
- Safety Recognition & Incentive Programs: Safety program incentives can be used to create employee interest in the safety program and motivate employees (and managers and supervisors) to act and work safely. But, if the incentives become the focus of the safety program and actual safety is not the focus, then the incentives become interference in obtaining a true safe working environment. Instead of the emphasis of the safety program being on the incentives, the attention should be on training the employee how to work safely. Educating the employee in the proper performance of their job will have a more significant impact on the overall safety record of the employer than an incentive program. If the employees do not know how to work safely, the incentive program will fail.
Other Safety Considerations
Engagement and follow-through by all interested stakeholders, including a company president or CEO. If employees see active engagement and participation by everyone, the message will be reinforced. Failure to do so will result in a failed mission, and the objective will never be completed. Leaders need to lead by example.
It is also important to understand that safety is a continual process. Once an effective program is in place, it requires frequent maintenance and review. Improvements can always be made with involvement from all employees.
The best way to reduce work injuries is to prevent them from occurring. The implementation of a safety program can accomplish this, along with an effective means of communication. Now is the time to engage your workplace and promote a safe working environment.
Author Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%. He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is the founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center.
Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/
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