Traditional means of communicating health, safety and environment (HSE) issues to a company workforce include alerts explaining accidents, stand-downs, magazines, celebrations, award ceremonies and HSE notice boards. The author values such tools, but believes their effectiveness can be limited, particularly in working environments that often involve employees of a wide diversity of cultures, languages and backgrounds. The author also considers that companies would benefit from adapting their communication strategies to mechanisms such as blogs, interactive video clips, and games, which are routinely used by, and are popular with, new generations of employees.
This paper describes initiatives implemented in an oilfield services company and the results, and concludes with proposed recommendations to improve the effectiveness of HSE communications to field employees. The main conclusion is that the more involved employees feel the more chance there is to learn from the message. In addition, no communication tool can replace the power of a manager taking the time to have face-to-face open and honest discussions with employees.