Rock Products

AUG 2019

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www.rockproducts.com ROCK products • August 2019 • 133 Safety Aggregates Industry Almanac As the table shows, overall perceptions are fairly high for supervisor communication and especially positive for coworker communication. Regarding supervisor communi- cation, the items with the lowest averages include whether a supervisor monitors H&S work practices and supervisors informing workers of hazards specific to their job. These questions represent communication throughout the day, regarding overall safety and performance. These results indi- cate that more modes of communication are needed with workers as well as ways to enhance the quality of interac- tions, related to H&S issues. The Industry Is Evolving and New Tools Are Needed Seeing the importance of communication, many Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Annual Refresher Train- ings (ARTs) have started to integrate skills-based practice around communication into their sessions. One company started to incorporate modules around leadership, coworker intervention, and crucial conversations several years ago (McGuire & Snead, 2017). A common theme within one of their program element mod- ules is "Lead by Example," and indicates that management must ensure that workers understand their roles and respon- sibilities, provide resources to fulfill those responsibilities, and use appropriate tools to measure and review for contin- uous improvement. In other words, only so much education and change can occur at a one-day or one-week training; new programs and meth- ods need to be implemented and sustained beyond training. To do this, however, every worker needs to be accountable and responsible. Specifically, a way to start tracking the intan- gible aspects of H&S on the job – areas of intervention where leadership and communication is missing – is a critical gap faced on a daily basis. Being Accountable to Hazard Identification and Mitigation Communication scorecards, or checklists, were developed in response to the current research efforts to help improve communication and, consequently, the perceived safety cli- mate. NIOSH's current safety climate research revealed gaps, areas of potential improvement, as well as possible ways to improve communication practices (Haas, 2019; Haas et al., 2018). To that end, NIOSH developed communication accountabil- ity scorecards to help organizations make communication management more transparent in a way that conforms to ideas behind organizational programs and processes within most generic health and safety management systems. These communication scorecards were developed using previous research about performance measurement in health and safety management (Haas & Yorio, 2016) as well as the results gleaned about communication indicators and mea- surement described above. Specifically, results from these safety climate surveys as well as qualitative data collected from managers and mineworkers about communication practices on site (e.g., see Haas, 2019) identified several leading indicators. These scorecards were piloted with eight members of H&S management from three aggregate companies to ensure that the objectives, measures, and indicators were accurate ways to assess communication quantity and quality. The pilot companies were able to verify that the intervention measures listed were common and that the communication quality indicators aligned with their overall health and safety goals. Additionally, they were able to provide feedback about ways in which they could adapt and use these communication scorecards on a daily basis to assess and measure messages that were being exchanged on site about health and safety. Using such a tool also helps make communication as a man- agement effort more tangible. After minor tweaks were made for consistency, three cards were created that aim to improve critical gaps identified between managers and hourly workers (i.e., visibility, con - sistency, and fairness) [Haas 2019]. Similar gaps such as clarity, effectiveness, responsiveness and consistency have been identified in research on other industries (Vos & Schoe- maker, 2004). Additionally, others have touted such communication score- cards as ideal (Olve et al., 2003), making this method a viable approach to assess and improve aspects of accountable com- munication. An example of one of these cards is provided below. As illustrated, similar measures are offered that companies and respective workers often report, such as types of hazards identified, and whether they were mitigated or not. However, the "evaluation and action plan" within these scorecards go a step further by encouraging the documentation of what was discussed or fixed, hence, closing the communication feedback loop. Closing these feedback loops was a significant communica- tion barrier identified in NIOSH research (Haas, 2019), so it is hopeful that creating a way to remind managers and workers to follow-up with each other can help minimize this prob- lem. Additionally, ways to improve communication is offered to help employees be aware of potential, ongoing improve- ments in communication to enhance worksite relationships and perceptions.

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