Harriman Oyofo: If you haven’t got communication, you’ve got nothing
Communication is the vehicle of the safety trade or any trade for that matter. Clear cut communication is to safety management what a navigation compass is to a sailor, for without it plans for safe operations can go several degrees off course. Unreliable or no communication creates a fertile ground for varied rules interpretation, abuse, and ultimately widespread noncompliance. The more employees work with their own rules or outside laid down procedures in a particular workplace, the more susceptible to loss-producing and injury incidents that workplace will experience over the course of time. Looking to see why these incidents occur often reveals how easily some of them could have been nipped in the bud if only everyone in the loop could have compared notes prior.
Share your knowledge
Passing around available safety-critical information and openly sharing knowledge across all levels of supervision doesn’t hurt anyone, system or its operating budget. If anything, it helps the collective drive towards set tasks and targets; which can only be a win-win for the employer and employee. Instead, you could so easily lose count of how often people fail to share what they know with colleagues for a host of silly personal reasons until something goes wrong and someone gets hurt. Then when consequence-sharing possibility inevitably stares us in the face, a floodgate of what and how it could have been better done opens up, but lo, too late to do any good. And believe it or not, there’s never a shortage of knowhow or competence except for pettiness and shortage of good old common sense.
For info hoarders and the ‘let me see how smart this new guy really is crew’, it starts off as no more than a harmless prank until it turns nasty. So when it comes down to it, there’s no advantage whatsoever in hoarding safety-critical information. It does nothing for the hoarder, his/her safety, welfare, productivity or importance on the shop floor. Neither does it shoot you up the corporate ladder, except perhaps mark you out as one odd ball in the pack.
They say a problem shared is a problem halved. Keeping knowledge to yourself certainly doesn’t make you any wiser. It does not make you indispensable either and it doesn’t even say much for who you are. Or maybe it does – in a negative way.
It is good to talk
One thing is sure though, it is guaranteed to lead you to errors in the workplace or even in your home; costly errors that cause a lot of pain and suffering for you and yours for a long time to come. Yet it costs very precious little to talk. I think the phone companies got it right in their jingle when they say it is good to talk.
It is time you signed on to talking and sharing safety-critical information on the shop floor, coffee room, at lunch hour breaks in order to carry through the message and reduce the chances of potentially traumatic events in the workplace, homes or elsewhere. It needs not be stuffy and rigid. A light-hearted exchange of helpful safety information can do just fine. It only takes a little to lift a whole lot of weight of uncertainty off a colleague’s shoulders.
No one needs get hurt
Whatever we know and share is a growing deposit in the workplace safety bank account with plenty of yield on interest for all. Don’t hesitate to sign on to it.
No one needs get hurt; no product loss need occur, and no part of the environment need be breached. We’ve now got to better deploy our tools, equipment and other resources for set goals to be within sight. Sharing information through better and improved communication systems and channels is the name of the game, the new game.
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