“Safety’s not something you do; it’s how you do something.”

By Frank Kenna

The headline above was my favorite quote from a fellow panelist at the OSHA Stakeholder Meeting in Washington DC last week.  OSHA is working on new safety rules that will center around six Core Elements of organizing and implementing safety:

1. Management duties
2. Employee participation
3. Hazard identification
4. Hazard prevention
5. Education & training
6. Program evaluation

As representative of Marlin (TMC), I gave the OSHA members feedback and suggestions based on our experience as workplace coummunication experts, namely about point #5.

It’s been my experience that previous OSHA rules have been big on coming up on safety concerns for companies to work on, and having companies work to adapt the rules locally, but not so strong on how to communicate those adaptations to the employees.  At TMC, we know there are certain techniques that are very effective at improving employee communication and employee engagement. These include visual communication messaging, how often those messages should be repeated, and how often they should change.  Most companies don’t know about these techniques and it would be great if they were included in the new rules.

I hope the OHSA folks listened and will implement these ideas.  Because safety rules without a proven way to communicate them are a waste of everyone’s time. If companies need to follow OSHA’s guidelines, let’s make them as effective as possible so we end up with the safest workplaces possible.

Sharon Toelle
July 26, 2010

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