Building a safety culture in your organization, where employees understand what procedures they must take to be safe and how to report any hazards should be one of your top priorities. Not only will a safe workplace help to keep your employees motivated with high levels of morale, there are many benefits to the organization as a whole to do this.
A Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index report found that every $1 that companies invest into safety in their workplaces, they achieve a $4 return on investment.
This is achieved through lowered workers’ compensation claims, less time lost, greater efficiencies, savings on legal costs, etc. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is to communicate well and to communicate regularly with your employees about safety expectations in the workplace. Simply put, this means you need to send safety messages to employees.
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How to write a safety message?
When creating safety messages for your employees, the following points should help guide you:
- Keep your messages short. Long items of communication may not get read all the way through.
- Keep your information simple. If you over-complicate your messaging or use jargon, people won’t understand what you need them to.
- Keep your information relevant. If your employees work in an office and don’t operate heavy machinery, there’s no point in giving advice on operating heavy machinery! Promote situational awareness and get your employees to be on the lookout for specific and relevant risks.
- Make your messages memorable. You might want to get creative and play with words and expressions in a way that employees will remember. This might include metaphors, or puns, or other interesting writing methods.
- Write using positive language. Focus on the types of behavior you want to see in the workplace when it comes to safety, don’t dwell on the negative.
- Get visual where you can. If you can accompany your safety messages to employees with visual imagery it can make your words more impactful.
How to motivate employees to work safely
Companies often find it difficult to keep employees motivated when it comes to workplace safety. There are a few key ways to engage your employees on this topic and make them want to take action:
- Create slogans. Catchy and short sentences that help define your objectives are likely to resonate and stick with employees.
- Create visual displays. People react better to information when it is presented visually and are more likely to retain it.
- Offer encouragement to do the right thing. Employees are more likely to react more favorably to positive reinforcement such as praise, rewards and recognition. Work practices such as discipline don’t motivate people and can severely impact morale.
- Involve your employees in the process. When you include employees in the process of improving workplace safety, it enables them to feel connected to the project and its outcomes. Let them be involved in purchasing protective equipment, participate in committees, contribute suggestions and ideas.
Examples of the types of safety messages to employees you can create
A generic safety message to employees such as “be safe” or “mind your step” or “be aware of your surroundings” on paper might seem like a good thing to communicate with employees, but the reality is they are so bland that they are often unnoticed. By taking a more creative approach – either by using clever words, humor or inspirational quotes about safety – your messaging will be more engaging and is more likely to get the cut-through that you seek.
Here are some safety messages ideas to try in your company
- “There are no dumb questions, but lots of dumb mistakes. If you’re not sure, ask!”
- “Safety brings first aid to the uninjured.” – F.S Hughes
- “Safety is not an accident.”
- “Safety is the seam that joins life’s fabric. Don’t let loose threads bring it undone.”
- “Carefulness doesn’t cost anything. Carelessness could cost your life.”
- “Your first mistake might also be your last.”
- “Wearing a mask is better than wearing a ventilator.” (COVID-19)
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- “Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.” – Jeff Cooper
- “Shortcuts could cut your life short.”
- “Luck runs out, but safety is good for life.” – unknown author
- “Spills and slips might lead to hospital trips.”
- “Cover your face and give people space.” (COVID-19)
- “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” – Sun Tsu
- “When you’re not safety conscious you might end up unconscious.”
- “Safety: what you forget can lead to regret.”
Safety messages to employees from the CEO
With any important cultural values that you want to embed in your organization, it’s essential to have buy-in from leadership and also have them model appropriate behaviors. Workplace health and safety is no exception to this rule. Your leadership team should walk the walk as well as talk the talk.
Some of the safety messages that you deliver to employees should come directly from the CEO of your company. This lends them some gravitas and shows that your company takes safety seriously and that the CEO is personally invested in ensuring that workers are safe.
Safety messages to employees from the CEO should be relevant to your organization: for example if you are a construction company you might want to communicate about risks when working at heights, or for freight and logistics companies you may have concerns you would like to highlight about driver fatigue.
Your employees want to feel safe in the workplace, and look to management, including the CEO, to see if there is evidence of importance being placed on safety within your company. But while words are important to this process, actions are as well. As well as sending safety messages, your CEO should also be visible and go to where the workers are, such as by participating when site visits and safety inspections are taking place. This will help make it clear to your staff that the CEO is really interested in and committed to safety.
You can send messages from the CEO in just about any format imaginable, from emails and intranet content to videos and messages on corporate social media.
How to deliver your safety messages
Best practice internal communications dictate that you should take a multi-channel approach to distributing information in order to ensure the best possible reach for your messages.
This means that you should use send your safety messages to your employees using a different range of creative mediums that will get their attention.
This can include:
- Visual campaigns using formats such as posters, enterprise screensavers, digital signage and corporate desktop wallpapers.
- Flyers and handouts.
- Intranet content.
- Videos and podcasts.
- Sending pop-up alerts or scrolling desktop ticker notifications.
- Sending reminder notifications to employees via apps.
- Quiz your employees to test their safety knowledge.
- Include regular safety tips in your internal newsletters.
- Have safety tips as a standing item on team meetings.
- Discussion of safety in online chat rooms or forums.
Workplace safety is important to every employee in your company, from the CEO down. Promoting awareness about specific hazards and threats that could compromise safety is important, and should be done in an easy-to-understand, accessible way. Continuously reaching out to employees to motivate them about safety can help reduce injury and death, and make your workplace a thriving one.