How can positive communication by leaders help your safety performance?

A report from the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) found that 29 per cent of workers were undecided on whether management demonstrated a commitment to work health and safety at their organisation. The issue stems from management not being visible, constructive or able to communicate genuine WHS commitment to workers.

To help business and WHS leaders, IPM offers an engaging series of communication courses aimed at advancing your understanding and capabilities. Many think communication is easy, it's not. But it is a central aspect of driving worker engagement, team performance and making WHS systems and processes effective.

There are many ways to communicate health and safety commitment, such as management walks, asking personally relevant safety questions and having what we call "straight conversations" about the risks and choices we all take.

Positive communication is central to positive work health and safety results

Communication isn't just about saying the right words. When leaders don't listen, seek first to understand the whys or take the action they've promised or implied, then workers are well within their rights to allege there is poor communication. Simply getting out from behind the desk or meeting and "going and seeing" can make a big difference.

Take for instance the management safety walks implemented by power supply multinational Aggreko. The SIA reports that over 330 safety observations and interventions were conducted since June 2016, with 54 management safety walks completed by the leadership team. 

Aggreko's AusPac QHSE manager, David Richards, said more training is needed to help executives get to grips with operational processes and the general working environment. 

"They essentially provide an opportunity to discuss ways to enhance safety with the employees directly involved and help to demonstrate Aggreko's commitment to continued improvement in our safety performance," said Richards.

The outcome was over a million man-hours without a lost time injury; that's 2-years of high WHS performance. The flow-on effects of this impressive record are less people injured, more productive workers and great overall efficiency.

Upskill your managers' communication abilities

Showing a commitment to work health and safety demands effective communication. Whether this is through "go and see" interactive walks in the workplace, coaching the poor performing employee or better consultation processes, positive communication skills are essential. While many believe that you are either a natural-born communicator or not, an individual's capabilities can always be improved – no matter their starting abilities.

At IPM Consulting, our Positive Communication courses are designed for anyone who has ever thought or spoken the words, "They just don't listen…" or "Why can't I get through to them?" We help business leaders understand the six key elements of positive communication, how to switch on an audience and keep them engaged, and the critical elements of communication. The courses are not only applicable to health and safety, the same skills apply wherever you want to communicate more effectively in your life.

If you would like to know more about communicating health and safety positively, powerfully and effectively, contact an expert at IPM Consulting today

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