Good communication is often a topic of discussion when it comes to safety and/or quality, as poor or insufficient communication can lead to serious problems. When performing a root cause analysis for a safety incident or non-conformance item discovered during a quality inspection, it’s not unusual to discover poor communication as a root cause or contributing factor.
We’ve all heard the basics before: be an active listener, ask the person you’re communicating with to repeat back your instructions, use two-way communication, etc. However, one factor that is discussed less often is the “how.” While traditional written and verbal communication are essential, there are many other ways to share information about safety and quality expectations on your project.
Do you equip your crews or work force with laptops? How about cell phones? In today’s world, mobile communication is everywhere. Mobile smart phones, laptops, and digital notepads make it very easy to integrate alternative forms of communication (email, text, social media) on your project. Imagine a Twitter account or Facebook page for your project where you can post daily safety reminders, OSHA regulations, or even spec tolerances.
Many construction projects now use construction software to create project internet sites to organize the most recent project drawings, store project documentation, and house important project correspondence. Instead of being accessible to the public, these types of networks are only accessible to an organization's staff. Similar in many ways to the multiple social media platforms we’re all familiar with, but without the risk or reaching an unintended audience. These types of sites are a perfect platform to bolster project communications, especially in the areas of quality and safety.
Here are some ideas for improving safety and quality communications on your project intranet site:
- Safety and quality should be prominently displayed on the opening page or “dash-board” for your project.
- Safety plans and regulations should be organized, easy to find, and searchable.
- Daily safety topics and Job Hazard Analysis forms should be stored here and easily searchable.
- Quality documentation should be archived here (Daily inspection forms, checklists, etc.).
- Hint - It’s helpful to organize QC documentation by Definable Feature of Work (DFOW).
- Include Spec requirements, manufacturer recommendations, even assembly instructions when available.
- Use this platform to share photo examples of good safety practices and good quality installations.
- Include an FAQ section for both quality and safety to answer frequently answered questions.
Both social media platforms and project intranet sites demonstrate creative ways to communicate ideas. There is no harm in over-communication amongst your team, especially when it comes to safety and quality. What construction software are you currently using to keep your project organized and to create a more robust platform for communication?