How to tell someone they're not being safe

So often we see the people we work with do stuff that isn't always the safest or smartest idea. The problem is if we go "Oi, stop being unsafe," the person being unsafe just gets annoyed and thinks we're overreacting.

So how do we tell someone that they're being unsafe? Zane and Adelaide have 5 easy to follow steps.

5 steps to tell someone they're not being safe

  1. Tell them now. When you see someone being unsafe tell them about it, and don't put it off. Have the conversation sooner rather than later. If they don't know they are being unsafe they'll just continue to be unsafe. Tell them.
  2. Don't blame them, judge them or be a dickhead. Saying that they don't know what they're doing and that they should just be safer isn't the best idea. It makes you look like a safety loser and they won't want to listen to you. Instead get alongside them and in a non-threatening way just start the conversation. It's not about telling them off.
  3. Own it, say "I'm actually really worried about this..." Show that you care about their safety and that you want them going home at the end of the day in one piece. This way they will see that you aren't just trying to cover yourself but that you care about their safety. They'll be more likely to listen.
  4. Be specific, what is the unsafe thing they are doing? Instead of just saying that they should be safer, be specific, what they are actually doing that is unsafe? Being on top of a building without a harness or railings is unsafe, or texting while driving isn't the best idea. Whatever it is actually say it and then say why it's unsafe. "If you slip whilst you're on the roof there will be nothing to catch and stop you from falling off", or "being distracted on your phone could lead to a crash". Be more specific.
  5. Listen to them then work together to become safer. Ask them what they think about it and then actually listen. You might find out that they have never been told how to do it safely or that they just didn't know it was unsafe. Or it might even be that they've been told to speed a job up and they're having to take shortcuts. Whatever it is you then need to take that on board and work with them to come up with a common-sense solution so they can still do their job and do it safely.

Knowing how to tell people that they're not being safe and involving them in the conversation is a really good way to start changing your safety culture. Change safety from something annoying that ticks everyone off, to a part of everyday work and conversation. Get them involved in making practical solutions so that nobody gets hurt and everyone can go home in one piece.

That's it for another Workshop Wednesday, remember, don't be a safety loser, show that you care about people's safety, listen to them and work together to become safer.
See you again next week!


Let us know what you think by commenting below or send an email to questions@peoplesafe.co.nz