A number of years ago, the owner of VP Demand Creation Services approached me about reigniting our Health and Safety program, asking that I be the director. Our program had become stagnant, with little to no activity to promote workplace safety.

Not knowing where to start or what to focus on, I decided to go straight to the source, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Although it took some convincing, my boss signed off on having OSHA in for a voluntary inspection. I was able to walk around the facility – consisting of three major pressrooms, three fully stocked warehouses, traditional offices, and nearly 100 employees – and find out what we’re already doing right and where we could stand to improve.

Fast forward 5 years: An impeccable accident record, no loss time injuries, zero illnesses, seven new safety programs, a multitude of training classes, and an owner who drives the safety message home every time he’s in front of our group. We now have an awesome Health and Safety program! There is buy-in from the employees, and the topics we discuss are often issues that can be addressed anywhere, not just the workplace.

One of the greatest messages we send to our employees is this: “Safety doesn’t end when you walk out the door at the end of the day. Safety is a conscious effort and we all play a roll.

Safety communication can create a bond among employees that is often very strong. When you show an interest in the well-being of someone, it can be a very powerful tool in getting their attention, getting them to interact, and often times create a feeling of dedication – especially when it comes to someone’s physical health and safety.

How much of your communication budget can you afford to spend on safety-related topics? How can you incorporate safety-related topics into your existing communication efforts with your staff and members? Some associations spend a great deal on safety advocacy, such as the aviation community – they live and breathe safety. Others use simple messages such as quarter-page blurbs about heat stress or how to recognize signs of stroke. Either way, if you decide you can use some of your communication budget on safety, there are a few things that you can consider to be successful in your efforts.

  1. Maintain regularity. Make sure your communication is regular and periodic. Safety communication should be ongoing and integrated into your communication budget.
  2. Keep your communication simple. One message at a time, simply and directly stated, is more likely to be understood.
  3. Use an empathetic approach. Showing members you can relate to them through safety communication is a great bonding exercise.
  4. Be consistent with your communication channel. If it’s print, try to place it in the same spot every time. If it’s a link to something on your website, create a spot where it can easily be found. Consistency is key.

So next time you’re shopping for content to provide to your members or to build relationships amongst your staff members, consider the possible benefits of a safer culture. This can only be achieved through effective communication efforts. After all, members are what make us who and what we are. Keeping them engaged and safe are the best ways to keep them coming back!

Article written by:

Kris Conway

Facilities and Pressroom Manager