How to Keep an Open Line of Communication with Your Workers
Even if you do it all right – walk your plant or job site regularly, designate leaders to keep tabs on safe practices, post safety reminders, provide high-quality training – you can’t be everywhere and there are going to be things you’ll miss. That means the relationships you develop between yourself and your workers are a crucial connection to help avoid incidents. Because the more comfortable your people are talking to you, the more you’ll know about their daily safety habits.
Try these 6 steps for staying in tune with your crew:
Step 1: Make the Most of Your Toolbox Talks
Taking time before each shift to gather your team for a quick talk is a daily opportunity to make sure your people remember to work safely. In addition to your usual agenda, take this time to caution your team about adverse conditions like extreme temperatures or slippery conditions caused by rain or snow. It’s also the perfect time to ask if anyone has safety concerns for the day. The simple act of asking the question can make people feel empowered to speak up when they might not have otherwise. It also lets them know you value their opinion and that you want their input.
Step 2: Shrink your Safety Meetings
Less outgoing workers tend to stay quiet in large groups. While you may have too many employees to do this each time, make sure you split your safety meetings into smaller groups on a regular basis to encourage people to contribute. Smaller meetings also promote more one-on-one conversation and give you the opportunity to get to know your workers better.
Step 3: Schedule Individual Time
Speaking of one-on-one conversations, an even more effective way to encourage openness is to talk with your workers individually. Schedule lunch or break-time with a different person each week. Taking the time to get to know all the members of your team, outside the hustle and bustle of the middle of a job, pays off in better communication and it may encourage people to speak up in ways they wouldn’t in a small or large group setting.
Step 4: Follow Up After Safety Training
Don’t assume that your people understood everything they heard in safety training. After a training class, follow up to check your workers’ new knowledge. Ask them if anything was unclear or even if they disagree with something they were taught. You can correct misconceptions and clear up any confusion. That way, you know your whole team is on the same page for safety.
Step 5: Debrief After an Accident or Near-Miss
After an accident or a near miss, call a special session of your smaller safety meetings to follow up with all your workers. Discuss what happened and get their perspective. Ask questions and show your concern for their safety, not just for the recordable.
Step 6: Take Advantage of Electronics
Almost everyone has a cell phone in their pocket these days. Leverage that technology to start your team’s day by sending an email or text with a safety tip and a reminder to look out for each other. It’s a great way to show that you care, and it gives workers an opportunity to reply to you remotely with any concerns. For those without cell phones, send the message to their team leader to share.
Staying in tune with your crew is important and the payoff can be huge.
Take a little time out of each workday and try some of these tips to keep everyone safer!
Schedule too busy? Get some extra time to try these tips by downloading FREE,
ready-to-use Safety Training Decks or Fun Safety Videos!