Crew talks are an excellent way to deliver information on the job site. I first learned what it takes to deliver a good crew talk from WorkSafeBC’s Bruce Jackson at a Manufacturing Safety Conference (see also the full article I wrote for the May/June 2008 issue of WorkSafe Magazine).
When it’s time to show the crew how to use a new piece of equipment or perform a new process safely, follow these eight steps to communicate your message on the shop floor, outside the site trailer, or at the cash register.
1. Start by explaining the goal of your talk
Open the discussion by telling the crew exactly what you want them to know when you are done. For example: “Today we’re going to talk about fit-testing of respirators. At the end of this crew talk, I want you to understand how it’s done so you can do it on your own.”
2. Use a prop to demonstrate
Using the respirator example, you could ask the crew to bring their respirators when you demonstrate a fit check, then ask them to do it themselves. These eight steps give you a chance to see, hear, and do the procedure.
3. Use plain language and keep a narrow focus
Know your audience and tailor your language appropriately, especially when your crew includes people learning English as a new language.
4. Limit your talk to 5 to 7 minutes
You may wish to gather your crew together for up to 15 minutes, but make sure you aren’t talking for all of it. Stick to the point. Leave time for questions.
5. Confirm your message has been received
The best way to do this is by asking them to do a hands-on demonstration of what you just showed them.
6. Follow up privately if someone really doesn’t get it
If you sense someone is having a lot difficulty, take that person aside, one-on-one, away from the rest of the group.
7. Keep a record of attendance
Use a form for recording the date, time, and topic discussed.
8. Close your talk on a positive note
Remind the crew why the topic is important and thank them for listening.
A second safety conference for the manufacturing industry – MakeItSafe.ca – will take place on October 25 and 26, 2010 at the Delta Vancouver Hotel in Richmond, B.C.