The unattractive brother of strategy communication

Safety series: Safety communication is much more than just rules. It is about changing cultures and behaviors. And most importantly, about life and dead.

By: Signe Raskmark, Communication Advisor (21 April 2017)

Have you ever tried mentioning ‘safety communication’ to a comm person, only to find him immediately twitching his jaw muscles in a desperate fight against the most insisting yawn?

Okay, maybe a little exaggerated. The point is that for some reason safety communication has a reputation as boring and low prestige; not as exciting as communicating values, not quite as attractive as leadership communication, and definitely not as sexy as strategy communication.

But why is that exactly? How did safety communication get such an unjust snooze-stamp?

A matter of changing behaviors
Safety communication is much more than just rules, regulations, stickers on the floors and funny limericks on the toilet doors. It’s a matter of life and death. It’s about changing cultures and behaviors, and it’s an area where you get to use every tool in your communication backpack.

Well-executed safety communication moves people. It makes them work safely everyday, all the time – not because they have to, but because they believe it’s important.

Is it difficult? Of course, and you cannot do it alone. You have to work closely with the organization’s Health, Safety & Environment representatives and people “on the floor”.

Can it be a long tough haul? Very much so. Changing an organizational culture is not done overnight. You have to be patient and repeat, repeat, repeat.

But is it boring? Far from it! Safety communication is both important, interesting and challenging. And if you succeed with your initiatives, you can really make a difference for people’s lives, both on and off the job.

To celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on Friday (28 April 2017), we  will share some thoughts and inspiration on the topic each day this week. Hopefully it will kick-start reflections and discussions – and help break with the bad rep of safety communication once and for all.