If There is Danger that you See, Communication is the Key!
Why is effective communication important?
Communication is key to building a strong safety culture. As important as your hard hat, gloves, vests, boots, glasses and tools, is the way in which you communicate potential hazards, expectations and the way in which you perform your job. Tools like toolbox talks, foremen meetings, pre-task planning sessions and orientations are all ways in which we communicate on the jobsite. How do you know that your message is clear and understood? Below are keys to effective communication no matter the means and methods of what is being said.
Here are some key points to effective communication:
- LISTENING – Good communicators are great listeners. On a jobsite listening means understanding the work that is being done around you, the needs of others and the overall working environment. Listening includes visual and audio clues like flags, signage and warning horns that are used throughout our jobsites. When listening, be sure to respond with reassuring phrases like, “I see”, “I understand,” or “OK”
- BODY LANGUAGE – Effective communicators deliver the messages through their words and body language. Using assertive body language when communicating safety messages is important. Using direct eye contact when asking someone to use proper safety procedures is also important
- BE RESPECTFUL– While strong words and body language is important to show leadership, it is also important to be respectful of your fellow workers when communicating. Try not to interrupt, insult, scream or belittle the individual when correcting safety procedures that are incorrect. In the end, the key to effective communication really boils down to listening with your whole body, listening to what others have to say, but also to the clues that give insight to their thoughts and emotions as expressed in their body language or tone of voice. Also, listening to your own self and to what you are experiencing while you are communicating. By being an active listener you can reduce misunderstandings and improve the chances that when it is your chance to speak, your message is heard and understood…as you wanted it to be.