Safety Communication

Safety Communication

A couple of extracts from recent posts on the Workplace Communicator Blog which are really worth sharing:

Are poor safety habits holding back your safety culture progression?

Posted by Marie-Claire Ross on Sun, May 11, 2014

getting attentionIf you’ve ever felt that a lot of your friends or colleagues are robotic and don’t think much, I’ve got some news for you.  You’re probably right.

An unbelievable 95% of our actions are controlled by the subconscious mind meaning only 5% of the time we are present and moving in the direction of our dreams and wishes.  In that high 95%, we are just playing out programs that we have simply picked up from other people.

The brain has been designed this way, so that we don’t constantly have to think about what we need to do.  Can you imagine how tough life would be if we couldn’t remember how to talk or we had to constantly re-learn how to walk every time we got up?  We would never be able to achieve anything other than just survival.  There’d be no time to design cars, computers or even elaborate meals.  We’d be too busy just trying to get our hands and feet to work.

The Ups and Downs

This is both good and bad from a safety perspective.

It’s good in that once you teach someone the right safety process and they’ve got it correctly stored in their memory, they will keep doing it right, as long as the circumstances don’t change (ie: a new switch is installed).

That’s why it’s so important that when teaching a safety process you have all workers doing the task correctly.  Otherwise, they will inadvertently teach any new starter the wrong process, just through the new employee watching them.

Our brains have been designed to model other people.  Known as “mirror neurons”, they are designed to copy emotions and behaviours.  It’s kind of a shortcut mechanism to learn quickly.

Of course, the downside is that if someone isn’t following the right safety process to begin with they will be on automatic, continually doing it the wrong way and unsubconsciously encouraging others to do it incorrectly as well.

When it comes to organisations, they are very much guided by long-held organisational habits or patterns that have arisen from thousands of independent decisions over time.

That’s why poor safety cultures can be so hard to improve, when the habits have been occurring company wide for so long.  All you need is one person to undertake an activity incorrectly, for it to become an acceptable routine.

How to get around Poor Safety Habits………READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE

What’s the one thing that works against you in safety communication?

Posted by Marie-Claire Ross on Sun, May 04, 2014


Using fear in safetyOne of the interesting things I find when it comes to safety is that some safety professionals (some, not all) like to play bad cop when it comes to getting their safety message across.

This means they like to use threats and fear when it comes to getting people to work safely.  This could involve showing gory injuries or just insinuating people getting injured have only themselves to blame for being stupid.  It also means they tend to boss people around when it comes to doing safety processes.

Fear has been proven to be a strong motivator to get people to change.  After all, if a robber walks into a bank making threats while using a camouflaged banana that looks like a gun, he will invoke a lot of panic.  Subsequently, when he’s caught he will still face stiff charges for using a banana.  Even though, no-one would have got hurt.  It’s just that the law knows that humans as very compliant when fear is employed.

But there’s one major issue with relying on fear to get what you want in a workplace.  It only produces short term results.  So if you’re looking to promote long-lasting behavioural change, you can’t rely on fear tactics.  In the long run, it will work against you.

One area where fear is always used is political ads.  For over 50 years, fear has been used to show voters what would happen if a particular candidate was in charge.  Unfortunately, it works well every time.  But it’s all short term.  The candidate will not automatically be chosen by voters in a future election based on that previous ad campaign.  Instead, a new short term fear based campaign has to be broadcast.

Being Bossed around is Exhausting…….. READ MORE

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