Good communication may be paramount to understanding and absorbing the safety message. But what’s also incredibly important for good communication skills is being a good listener. When it comes to workplace safety in particular, people may think about physical protections like PPE and hard hats. But while those things are designed to protect your body from the harm that equipment can inflict, they don’t develop or protect one’s ability to listen.
Why are listening skills so overlooked?
We live in an incredibly noisy world. Everyone’s trying to get your attention online, your co-workers and managers always seem to be wanting something, and perhaps at home you got your spouse and/or children constantly asking you for something. Home and the workplace both get too noisy (figuratively and literally.) That kind of sensory overload can cause our sense of focus and our listening skills to degrade over time. When you tune out most of what people are saying to you and only listening for the most crucial aspects, it causes major communication breakdowns.
That kind of miscommunication gets dangerous and costly. Employees need to have sharp listening skills to properly hear the message of safety that you’re trying to convey and no amount of tactical gear can fix that. But investing in their listening and communication skills can. It’s not just the concrete concept of being able to listen to supervisors explaining regulation updates and how employees can prevent bodily injuries on work sites. It’s also true in white collar settings where people may drown out that co-worker who always gets on their nerves or the nightmare boss who micromanages them to death. When people don’t listen in this type of workplace, someone can definitely get harmed in the break room but they can also make a co-worker feel unsafe at work by not listening to them state their discomfort.
A safety speaker can bring home the message of safety culture that needs to be communicated no matter what kind of gear your employees require.