Communication is Key for Workplace Safety

With the age gap between managers and young workers widening, safety in the workplace is no longer just about having the right gear. Communication is key, but it’s not always easy.

Managers came up the ranks with a certain set of expectations made of them along the way. Now in positions of leadership, managers often find themselves unable to reach young workers in the ways their own experience has trained them to manage.

The rift is worrisome – but not insurmountable says team building workshop leader Linda Kash, who is also one of Canada’s most recognizable actresses and a Second City alum. Kash has had memorable roles on blockbuster hits like Seinfeld, Cinderella Man and Waiting for Guffman, but is perhaps best known for her role as The Philadelphia Cream Cheese Angel.

Kash was a surprise guest presenter at the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) 2012 Conference in Niagara Falls, participating in the Seton Canada sponsored Taking the Boring out of Safety Training workshop.

The workshop was a presentation by Professors Cathy Denomme and Deborah Woodman, along with safety expert Patt Marquis, who jumped at the chance to include Kash in their workshop. Kash lead the group through exercises designed to break the ice and open up the lines of communication, something she has done for a variety of organizations.

“There’s often a disconnect between management and their teams,” Kash points out, “Good communication is important… rules and regulations exist for employee safety but it can erode trust.”

Kash recently began leading workshops in the high stakes worlds of construction, mining and manufacturing where poor communication doesn’t just cause tension, it can cost lives. Her main focus is to speak to the disconnect between management and their team. In a one to two-hour workshop, Kash leads exercises that are designed to “make the group feel as a whole and help participants trust their instincts to get along together.”

The idea is that as participants work together through various exercises, they learn important social skill sets and listening skills that cause them to begin interacting as a team without even knowing it at first.

The focus turns from blaming each other to getting the job done. And everyone has fun along the way.

Kash will be guest video blogging from time to time here on the jobsafety.seton.ca website, offering communications and teambuilding tips to help you better engage your workers in the safety message.

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