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If your employees have stopped listening to your health and safety message, here's how to get them to pay attention again

by , 24 November 2014
Health and safety takes constant reinforcement. But what do you do when your employees stop listening to the message behind your toolbox talks and safety briefings?

Get creative about how you convey the message of course.

For example, you can create health and safety programmes and activities that highlight your messages in an interesting way so your employees actually listen.

If you're not sure how to do this, don't stress. We have some ideas that could help you get your employees to sit up and take note...

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Here's why it's so vital to ensure your employees listen when you talk about health and safety

According to the International Labour Organisation, around two million employees die annually because of workplace accidents. In South Africa, about 500 employees die annually in workplace-related accidents and about 500 sustain non-fatal injuries.
That's why you have to create a health and safety system that prevents this. This requires constant reinforcement of your health and safety policy, programme and practices.
But if your employees tune out to the importance of these health and safety components, their lives are in danger.
That's why you need to find a way to bring energy and enthusiasm to your health and safety programme even when you're saying the same thing over and over again. 
This is daunting, but if you get really creative you'll see the results. Take a look at how Mafube Mines used soccer to improve their health and safety programme.

Here's how the Mafube Mines improved their health and safety programme with soccer

The Mafube Mines created a soccer themed health and safety programme called 'Risky Disky'. The programme used soccer and its teamwork as a through line. They even recruited Andre Arendse,
an ex-Bafana Bafana goalie, to act as the spokesperson with his 'Safe Hands Team'. 
At the foundation of this programme was an objective to reinforce the 'goal' of zero harm by highlighting the message of safety in the workplace in a new and fresh way.
The programme had a number of levels:
1. The first was a two day training programme for level one employees. It addressed the core issues of hazard identification, risk assessment and communication.
2. Then a level two (supervisory), two day programme that complimented level one and built supervisory ability and communication skills.
3. And finally, level three focused on senior and executive management and addressed safety behaviors that would support health and safety efforts to achieve a zero-harm environment.
All of these programmes carried soccer analogies, examples and experiential learning. 
Employees joined in a number of activities such as playing foosball and six-a-side soccer in a soccer air field. Both focused on emphasising the health and safety message.
Employees who engaged in the training programme all gave the same feedback. They said the soccer elements created a more engaging focus a the health and safety message.
As a result, the Mafube Mines has since enjoyed a zero-harm track record.
So get creative when it comes to your company's health and safety programme. Even if soccer doesn't work for your business, find a common passion everyone in your workplace can get behind and use it to bring new life to your health and safety programme.
For more information on what to include in your health and safety programme, check out the Health and Safety Advisor.

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