What does an effective safety interaction look like?

Incorporating safety discussions into everyday interactions with your team is the most effective way to reinforce the way they safely approach their work and integrate safety concepts into their workday, becoming just the way your organisation “does things”.

Here are a few tips from Wilson Consulting Group’s Managing Director Tony Dunne to foster safety interactions that have impact.

Notes from one of our safety forums on effective safety interactions

1. Never ‘conduct’ a safety interaction

A safety interaction scheduled into the diary should be avoided. These conversations should never be approached as tasks, rather integrate safety interactions into other operational activities such as tool boxes, to ensure that they become entrenched into regular business operations.

2. Listen, listen and listen some more

Safety interactions are not sermons. The best way to address safety issues in the field is to listen to those on it. Ask them tell you what’s worrying them and actively thank those who tell you the bad stuff.

3.   Reinforce positive behaviour

When you see something done well and you wish to motivate the frequency of a particular behaviour – praise it! I’s crucial to reinforce the positive safety behaviour more than the negative. Safety interactions should never be demotivating; this will make your long term goals more difficult.

4. Time your corrections

If you identify at risk behaviour during a safety interaction follow it up immediately.Provide specific direction for improving the behaviour to make it safer. Change is all in the timing.  People learn best to about how to make a change just before they are about to do something, not after, so think about following up a learning like this at the appropriate time.

5. Show you care

Active listening is one key way of enhancing a safety interaction.  Maintain eye-contact, turn the phone to silent and physically show you are listening.

Let the team know that you have followed up on their issues. It is one thing to fix an issue, but letting the team know that you have sorted it will increase the saliency of your safety interactions.