Communication As A Safety Tenet

Communication skills are important in making a safer workplace for all.Effective communication is key to a company’s safety and health culture. Those skills between employer and employees can be a positive experience for all involved. Publishing standards and procedures just isn’t enough. Executives, managers and all workers must have clear, open lines for bilateral communication.

Since the employer is legally responsible to provide a safe and healthy workplace environment, free from hazards, the employer would be wise to create clear communication channels for reporting hazards between the employee working with or near hazards and their supervisor or safety representative. The employer would then need to communicate this plan to all involved individuals and encourage its use.

Worker Lines of Communications Must Build Trust

The employee can be an invaluable untapped resource of ideas on how to make their job safer, more efficient, more productive, and more profitable for the employer. Therefore, by creating, developing, and encouraging effective multilevel communication, the employer can be creating an important key to their business success.

Many times safety issues are discovered by those closest to the source. If a climate of open communication exists, the worker feels free to contact his/her supervisor or the company safety officers regarding the issue without fear of reprisal.  The worker also needs to feel that their observation and concerns are taken seriously. When the communication flows back down in a positive manner, with tangible results, there is a trust that is built that progresses the idea that everyone is interested in safety. This is the primary goal of any organization from a safety-standpoint.

Another important part of effective communication is to actively listen to what others are saying also what their body language is telling you. When you listen to others don’t interrupt, give them your undivided attention and don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification of something you don’t fully understand.

FastCompany offers five good tips on fostering a climate of communication based on trust in one of their landmark articles.

Authorized OSHA/MSHA trainers emphasize effective communication in all classes and give ideas on how an employer can make this type of plan work for them.