Communication Tools on a Jobsite Safety Talk
There are many different methods to communicate a message. It is important to recognize the communication tools used on the job that relay important information for your work task and the work environment. Verbal communication is not the only way to send and receive a message.
Forms of Safety Communication
When someone says communication, the first thing you may think about is speaking words to another person or sending an email. These are just two ways to communicate, but there are many more ways found at work. Some other examples of communication include posters, labels, warnings, bulletins, pictograms, JSAs, SOPs, body language, etc. Depending on any number of factors, each of these tools of communication can be very critical to working safe.
- Safety Posters- Many hours and a lot of money is spent by companies to develop ideas for posters, implement the ideas behind the poster on the job, and print them out for their jobsites. Safety posters vary greatly in what information they are displaying. While some just have a few words of motivation others can give great detail on a common hazard in the workplace. It is important to pay attention to anything the company or a supervisor puts up on the wall. If it was decided to spend the resources to develop the poster then it is important for employees to review and understand the information it is communicating.
- JSAs- Job safety analyses are a proactive tool to prevent incidents, but they are also a method of communication. Much time and thought is spent on developing these tools. If the message that is being conveyed through JSAs is not being read or understood then the tool does not serve any purpose. Often times JSAs can become repetitive for tasks done over and over, but time should always be given to read the message it is conveying. The message is often the same if you are completing the same task because more often than not it is the same hazards that cause the majority of injuries.
- Labels/Warnings- There are labels on just about anything you see in a workplace. All too often labels are not read over or unreadable labels are not replaced. Manufacturers of equipment, tools, and chemicals put these labels on for a reason. Labels communicate some of the most important information for a product including serious hazards, safeguards, and contact information in case of an emergency. Make it a point to review the labels in your work area not only to check to see if they are in good condition but to also understand the message it is stating. If you see a label or symbol you do not understand look in the owner’s manual or ask a supervisor for its meaning.
These are just a few examples of important tools that convey a message in the workplace. On any given day the most important piece of information you read or take in can be received through any of these tools. It is important to ensure that the message is being received and understood by not only you, but all the workers in that area.
Discussion point: How else is safety communicated on the job?