How do you communicate risks?

After spotting a risk sign on the Norfolk coast, which has a high number of risks to communicate to the beach visitors, it got us thinking about the best way to identify risks.

This sign is great because visually it’s clear where the risks are; but will people STOP and read it before entering?

That’s the key point here. Not that you have a sign. That people can understand the risks easily is one step but making sure they will read the risks thoroughly is the most important step.

The HSE ‘Key actions in communicating effectively’ highlights the following for key actions in communicating effectively

  • Formulation of plans to cascade information
  • How to share your risk assessments
  • Clear communications for procedures for safety critical tasks
  • Clear written instructions
  • Worker consultant to find barriers to communication within organisation
  • Feedback loops for workers

Let’s take a few of the above elements; firstly sharing your risk assessments.

In this digital world there are many ways to share your risk assessments; you may choose a safety app, or use embedded tools like Office 365 for sharing risk assessment documents. Perhaps printing them out and having them in the works canteen is still the best way for everyone to access the risk assessments. It’s far better that you understand HOW people will consume the risk assessments and provide them in multiple ways. Perhaps a good idea is to have risk assessments on weekly agendas of team meetings; that could help with verbal communication.

Secondly let’s think about signage to communicate risks.

It could be that you have a sign, much like the beach one, that is used on your site to start an induction off. Or even a digital screen that has images of the safety critical risks on site (like moving vehicles in certain areas). This type of signage is great for site visitors.

How about employees; how do you best remind them of the risks where they work? Signage is useful too but make sure you don’t make your team ‘sign blind’ by using them everywhere.  If it’s electricity that is the main risk in an operation or area then just use the sign in the most appropriate area and make sure it is visible and kept clean. Don’t just use a sign to highlight a risk to your workforce. Communicate before it is put up, when it is put up and after it is put up. That way you’re getting the message across in multiple ways to highlight the risk and ways of working to keep the team safe.

If you are struggling to communicate your risk assessments get in touch with Suzanne; and she’ll help you understand what will work on your site with your team.

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