Effective Safety Communication in the Workplace

As much as employees desire a safe work environment, businesses too want to keep workers safe and avoid violating safety regulations. Having an effective employee safety communication strategy in place is critical to ensure that preventable safety incidents are avoided and provide a positive environment that attracts and retains employees.

These five tips will ensure your employee safety communication system doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

1. Create a Plan for the Year

Rather than doing random acts of safety communication, start the year with a plan for key health and safety topics that you’ll want to address. With those topics identified, create a plan for how and when you’ll communicate. Decide on:

  • A timeline for when topics need to be covered
  • Which employees will need to be trained on the topics
  • What content can be leveraged
  • What channels will be used to communicate your message
  • How emergent hazards will be communicated

The next tips dive deeper into how you’ll execute this plan.

2. Tailor Safety Communication to Your Audience

Forwarding regulatory communications en masse is not the right way to go. Instead, tailor safety messages so they are relevant to your employees. Clarify the link to job roles and functions and when possible, only share safety messages that are relevant. Safety procedures that apply to one set of employees, such as those working in a warehouse, don’t need to be shared with everyone in the organization. Same for job-site hazards that only affect a certain department or region.

Your workforce doesn’t have the time to comb through pages of safety documents, make it easy for them to get the key information they need and provide context that grounds the information in reality.

With Zinc Real-Time Communication, you can easily target messages to specific employees based on Zinc Groups as well as individual employee details, such as job title, job skills, location and more. As part of your planning, built employee lists to make it is quick and easy to send content.

3. Keep Messages to a Minimum

This applies to any communication plan. If you bombard employees with too much information, they will start to tune it out altogether. Targeting messages to specific groups will help reduce the noise, but you’ll still want to avoid overloading those groups with information.

Plan your communication timeline accordingly. Prioritize what needs to be shared when and leave room for emergent safety communications. For less urgent or detailed notices, group them together into one message rather than sending each one individually. Additionally, take the time to summarize long policies and procedures and create catchy ways for employees to remember the information.

4. Consider Different Methods for Communication

Email and intranet are the most common tools but are not very ineffective. Hundreds of messages land in inboxes each day and can easily get lost, and intranets rarely get logged into. On top of that, the employees who are most affected by safety communication often don’t use email or intranet at all. Ensuring your message is received and read is just as important as crafting a relevant, targeted message.

Consider modern employee safety communication apps that are able to cut through the noise and reach employees. Zinc’s Broadcast feature immediately alerts employees to critical or urgent information with eye-catching push notifications. Once these messages are sent, you can see who has read and engaged with the content. This is especially useful in timely situations where employees need to be informed ASAP.

5. Create a Two-Way Employee Safety Communication System

Part of your plan should include creating an open dialogue about safety and taking employees’ concerns and priorities into account. Conduct regular feedback surveys with employees to understand their concerns and how well safety communication is being received.

When incidents occur, always talk with affected workers, whether directly or through anonymous feedback methods, to uncover what could have prevented the accident. Follow up with a safety campaign that addresses the issue and details what is being done to prevent a recurrence.

On the individual team level, encourage managers to have regular in-person safety briefings that review key messages and procedures, and allow employees to share ideas and concerns.

Your Employee Safety Communication Strategy

It pays to have a winning safety communication strategy in the workplace. With employees engaged and informed through your communications, you reduce costs related to accident and injury, employees are more productive and happy at work, and you can better attract new talent through a glowing safety reputation.

Achieving your goals is a matter of effective communication and following the tips discussed in this post will get you on the right track.

ABOUT Kristen Wells

Kristen is the senior manager of corporate communications at PTC and editor of Field Service Digital. She is passionate about elevating the stories of women in field service and improving communication between the field and the office. Prior to ServiceMax, Kristen held content marketing roles at startups such as Zinc and cielo24. Kristen holds a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis on Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara.