Many marketers tell us that it takes anywhere from 8-10 touches to create brand awareness with consumers. Even with the work (and financial commitment) it takes to put together a memorable Super Bowl commercial, they will continue to be run after the Super Bowl to reinforce the message. You may have noticed too that the length of time for the commercial will decrease. Once the longer message has been seen a few times, the commercial will be shortened to the key message.

When thinking about how to craft a safety message to employees, we can take the same approach. It makes sense to commit the time to a longer initial training session so that employees are exposed to all of the aspects of a given OSHA standard or safety principle. We may follow that up with a shorter annual training session. In some cases, training topics are mandated by OSHA. In other cases, we recognize the need for training based on industry practices or past injury/illness history.

Let’s go back to the first point regarding the 8-10 “touches”. The idea is that those touches need to take place over a reasonably short amount of time. One annual training session, followed by another shorter session a year later, won’t really do it. We need to continue to promote our message to employees. Here are three ways to do that.

1. Utilize safety tool talks to reinforce the message. A tool box talk is a short, up to one page, document that focuses on a few key points for a topic. These can be read out loud in a group setting or can be posted for employees to see.

2. Safety posters. These posters generally will attract attention to a single important safety principle.

3. Safety tip of the day. An email message delivered directly to employees or to the facility to be posted. This is a very short message about an important safety concept.

While those communication ways can be effective, nothing substitutes for a committed supervisory group who promote safety right along with production and quality. How well trained are your supervisors when it comes to recognizing hazards and unsafe behaviors?

Safety is a minute by minute choice. Let’s do our very best to keep our employees engaged with safety.

What are other ways you have found to effectively engage your employees?

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