Communication and Safety go Hand in Hand

Proper communication is crucial for a job to run safely and efficiently. When communication is insufficient or missing completely, there can be many negative consequences for crews and the company as a whole.

Here are common tools we use for communicating a safety message:

Training

Training is the way we demonstrate how to do a task and how to do it safely. It is one of the first methods of communication used to prepare employees for a job.

Job Safety Analyses (JSAs)

JSAs are a proactive tool to prevent incidents and should be the primary method of communicating hazards. If the message being conveyed through the JSA is not read to the team or understood, then the tool does not serve any purpose.

JSAs may seem repetitive for routine tasks, but that’s when this tool is even more critical. Most accidents are caused by complacency, when workers become too accustomed to a task and get lax in hazard identification.

Safety Meetings

Monday morning safety briefings and safety tailboard meetings is where we discuss work scenarios and the associated hazards. These are very important for work crews. Paying attention to the information provided will protect you.

Labels

Labels are found on almost every piece of equipment, tool, and chemical in the workplace. Manufacturers put these labels on for a reason. They relay the most important information regarding the hazards and safeguards of that product.

Stop Work Authority

When hazards are present or something else interferes with performing a task safely, you must halt work until it is safe to continue. While this is everyone’s duty, some may not feel comfortable doing so for reasons such as:

  • Being afraid of punishment from supervisors.
  • Trying to avoid conflict with others.
  • Do not want to be seen as not knowing what they are doing.
  • Do not want to slow work down.

Despite what some may claim, stop work authority is not just a right, it is a responsibility. Stopping work will keep you, your coworkers, and your company safe. Here’s how to make stop work authority a topic of your JSA or safety tailboard topic:

  • What situations could come up in your work today where stopping work will be necessary?
  • Are you comfortable stopping work? Why or why not?
  • Discuss a past incident and how stopping work could have prevented it.

Appreciate the time and resources dedicated to developing these materials, and make sure you use these tools every day to communicate about safety effectively. Most importantly, never be afraid to speak up when it comes to safety on the job.

About the Author

6 on Safety is a blog by Erich Metzger, Sr. Director of Safety & Quality, which focuses on the root cause of safety as it lies in our culture, core values and leadership at Charge. Provoking thought and providing insight improves our safety and quality at every level, and something we want to share with others to elevate the safety culture throughout our industry.