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The challenges of workplace safety conversations

Among the conversations that can be critical ones in a workplace are safety conversations. And this doesn’t just include the safety talks a business’ management has with workers. It also includes the conversations workers have with each other about safety.

What is happening in a company’s workplace when it comes to safety conversations can impact how the company’s employees act safety-wise. This, in turn, can affect the injury likelihood of:

  • The company’s employees.
  • Customers that visit the business.
  • Other workers that are present on the business’ premises.

This can have major ramifications for a business. The level of injury likelihood in its workplace can impact a company’s reputation among both workers and customers. Also, in some cases, injuries having occurred on its premises could lead to a business facing major legal claims.

So, having quality safety conversations with workers and fostering an environment where workers feel comfortable having honest conversations with each other about safety can be critical for businesses.

Now, there are challenges related to safety conversations. One is that difficulties can arise in getting a safety message across to the worker it is directed towards. Certain things could cause a worker to ignore or be resistant to a safety message given to them by a co-worker or management, including them:

  • Feeling like they are being “attacked” in the conversation.
  • Chafing over being told what to do.
  • Not having an accurate picture of the danger of a given action or situation.

Among the things that can impact how likely a safety message is to avoid these sorts of barriers and get across to a worker is how the message is delivered. So, paying attention to message delivery and giving careful thought to ways to combat the above-mentioned challenges can be important for a company as it endeavors to have quality safety talks with workers and create a work environment that encourages honest safety conversations.

Source: Safety+Health, “Speaking of safety,” Susan Vargas, May 25, 2017

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