Safety Communications

Another article by legendary Safety Guru, George Robotham ( You can find more of his work at here: SAFETY REFLECTIONS

George’s Safety Reflections – Number 7

Safety communications

There is not much point having an excellent safety message if you cannot get it across to the stakeholders. Communications failure is a major impediment to success in safety. The world of safety is famous for well-meaning, ponderous, glossy publications that no one really knows about, cares about or uses. Safety communications are also famous for the use of “weasel-words”. “Weasel-words” promise a lot but deliver little.

“When reading your correspondence the reader must say “Wow” in the first third of the page”

“When listening to your presentation the listener must say “Wow” within the first 3 minutes”

The following tips are given to enhance communications-

1 Use face-to-face communications whenever possible

2 Use the supervisor to communicate whenever possible

3 Frame messages relevant to the immediate work area not some obscure corporate goal

4 Avoid management road shows to communicate major change, a lot of the workers will see it as propaganda and a bit of a wank

5 Aim to be succinct in both written and verbal communication, there is no need to wade through a whole pile of superficial detail to get to the essential message. For routine correspondence aim for 1 page, 2 pages maximum

6 Stick to the must knows

7 Use photographs, diagrams, flow-charts etc. to illustrate main points.

8 Important written communications must always be followed up by a face-to-face meeting

9 Do not be surprised if your e-mail messages are mis-interpreted

10 Use active listening and questioning to quickly identify relevant issues

11 Provide detailed feedback seeking confirmation as required

12 Communications must be targeted at the needs of the audience, jargon must be avoided and one must be conscious of body language

13 Be clear about your goal and communicate this to the reader

14 Explain what you want the receiver to do

15 Establish your credibility early up

16 Have someone proof read your work.

17 Have an executive summary with major reports

18 Use short sentences and scannable paragraphs

19 Never send when angry, big temptation with e-mails

20 If possible write a draft, sleep on it and proof read the next day. If you have a few days grace write the draft and go back to it at least once every day

21 Always spell-check

22 Have a strong opening and conclusion

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