A health and safety program is an important part of any organisation, but if you don’t have a plan for communicating it, your efforts could be wasted. Here are the essential ingredients for creating an effective Health & Safety Communications Plan:
A plan for all Employees:
- A plan for all: Employees should be informed of the health and safety program and how their role fits into it. They should also know how they are expected to contribute, and what rewards are available for doing so.
- Electronic communication: Make it easy for employees to access information about your health & safety program with an electronic communications plan that includes a company newsletter or intranet site linking to any relevant policies, procedures and resources (such as training modules).
Who is the Audience?
- All Employees: This is an important group to consider, as they are the people who will be directly affected by the health and safety program. They also have the most information about day-to-day operations and should be aware of any changes or updates to procedures or policies.
- Directly Involved Employees: These are employees whose jobs are directly impacted by your health and safety program, such as those in charge of implementing it.
- Indirectly Involved Employees: This group includes anyone else who may be working on projects related to your H&S plan but aren’t necessarily involved every step of the way—for example, if you’re changing how workers’ compensation claims are handled within your company.
- Non-Involved Employees: If you’re creating a new H&S policy or procedure, it’s important that non-involved persons understand why this change was made so they can support those affected by it (indirectly). For example, if an employee has been injured at work due to unsafe equipment use, then all co-workers need to know why they shouldn’t rely on this equipment themselves because someone got hurt using it before them.
Who will be the message carrier?
When it comes to effective communication, you are who you surround yourself with. No matter how great your plan is, if no one knows about it, it won’t do anyone any good. The next step in creating an effective health and safety communications plan is identifying who will be the message carrier within each department of your organisation.
It’s important to think about who are the most effective communicators within your organisation and what tools they currently use for communicating with employees (i.e., email, text messages, etc.). Finally, take into consideration their role in the organisation because this will help determine where they should spread awareness of your new plans or policies depending on how much time they spend away from their desk or on site.
What is the most effective way to reach your audience?
- The most effective way to reach them is by using multiple channels
- It’s important to use the right channel for the right audience and message
- Ensure that you’re using channels that are relevant to your business, or your industry
What is the message?
It should be clear and concise. The message needs to get the point across in a way that is easy for the audience to understand.
It needs to be relevant and engaging. It doesn’t matter how well-written your safety communications plan is if it isn’t something that people need or care about.
It needs to use language appropriate for the audience (including language they don’t speak). If you only speak English, but there are employees who aren’t fluent in it—or who speak other languages—then your messages should reflect this.
The message should also be delivered effectively: at the right time and place, with materials that make sense for what you’re trying to communicate
When and where should communications take place?
While it is important to communicate throughout the entire process, there are three main times when you should be communicating:
- During the planning process
- During the implementation process
- After the project has been completed
Why should they care about this message?
It’s important to communicate safety messages in a way that makes sense to employees. The message below is an example of how you can start a conversation with your employees about why they should care about this message.
- Safety is everyone’s responsibility
- Your actions matter in the workplace
- You are our first line of defence
Safety is a shared responsibility; it’s not just the job of management or senior leadership. As the people closest to an incident, you are our first line of defence against any hazards or risks in your workplace. If we want our company to be safe, then we all need to do what we can when we see something unsafe happening around us – whether it’s reporting inappropriate behaviour by other employees or taking action if there is an immediate threat like fire or injury on site.
When you decide to create a health & safety program, you need a plan in place for communicating it.
If you are about to create a new health and safety program, you need to start with a plan in place for communicating it.
- Make sure that your communication plan includes the right people. They should be well-informed and able to communicate clearly with those they are responsible for communicating with. Don’t underestimate the importance of communication – it is the key element in making sure your approach is effective.
- Don’t forget yourself. If no one else knows what they need to know or do, then how can they take action? You also need to know what happens next so that if something goes wrong, you can act quickly and effectively.
- Don’t forget your colleagues! They may not be directly involved in creating or implementing an employee engagement program (EAP), but their support will be essential when it comes time for change management; when old habits die hard and there are pushbacks from staff members who don’t want things changed around them too much suddenly after years of doing things one way only; when money gets tight because senior management cut back on some projects; etc
We hope you’ve found this article helpful. Now that you have a good understanding of how to create an effective health & safety communications plan, it’s time to put it into action.
Remember that no matter what kind of program your company has in place, there are always ways to improve upon it. And when it comes down to it, we believe that any effort towards improving workplace safety is worth making.
Pennypop are proud to support the CIF Safety Month / Week for October
If you need help developing your Health & Safety Communications approach, get in touch with us today.
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About the Author
Founded in 2022, Pennypop is an Irish Marketing agency specialising in Marketing and Communications. The business is based in Louth, Ireland and supports businesses across Ireland, UK and USA.