How Do You Communicate Safety?

I had an interesting conversation recently with the person in our company who is responsible for workplace safety. The company has set a challenging, yet entirely achievable, goal of zero injuries. We were talking about how to create a zero-injury culture in a global company with dozens of locations.

I recalled my first job in corporate communications. I worked in an AT&T manufacturing plant (AT&T has since spun off their manufacturing operations) and safety was also a priority there. During my eight years there, I had the safety mindset drilled into my head: Don’t enter a manufacturing area without safety glasses. Don’t walk with your head down or read while you’re walking. Be careful as you turn corners. Always have a top on cups filled with liquid. Don’t leave things precariously perched on overhead shelves. Avoid tripping hazards like loose cords or objects on the floor. Use handrails on stairs. Clean up your workspace at the end of the day. Drive slowly in the parking lot.

The company communicated those messages consistently and persistently. Over time, they stuck. Now, I find myself with the same mindset in my home — not that I’m perfect about following all the safety rules, but I’m painfully aware when I’m not.

I’ll be working with our company’s safety director to think about how we can effectively communicate the zero-injury culture to our employees around the world. I believe those consistent, persistent messages communicated over a period of time might do the trick. I’m interested in any other ideas or best practices out there that you’re willing to share. Use the comment box to share yours.


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