By: Shanari Baird
Whether it be blogs, Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn, the major types of social media available today are largely well-known and have already made a big footprint in the personal lives of many individuals all across the globe.
In fact, as of January 2014, 74% of online adults in the United States use social networking sites, according to Pew Research Center. Even individuals 50 years and older are increasingly becoming more internet-savvy and have social media profiles of their very own!
In a survey where adults who use social networking sites were asked why they use social media, many of the responses included the following answers:
- Stay in touch with current friends and family members
- Connect with old friends or make new friends
- Find others with shared hobbies or interests
- Read comments by celebrities, athletes or politicians
- Find potential romantic or dating partners
One reason for using social media that has recently surfaced is using social media to increase workplace safety and build organizational safety cultures. When you think about how many of your employees or co-workers are already naturally using social media to share their lives, opinions, and maybe an embarrassing photo or two, it makes a lot of sense that social media could be utilized to encourage further sharing that relates to the workplace and promoting safety initiatives. People want to share their thoughts and opinions on social media! Some may say it’s even easier to do so on cyberspace than in a meeting or in-person.
Though using social media to promote workplace safety will never replace—or at least it shouldn’t—other communication channels employers currently use to keep workers safe (e.g., safety policies, meetings, training, etc.), it’s a great supplement to what is already being done and provides a way for more workers to get involved.
Here is a list of 4 ways you can use social media to increase workplace safety you may have never thought of!
1. Create a members-only safety group on Facebook or LinkedIn and invite employees to join.
When you create a closed group, only current members can see what members post in the group. Your group could be exclusively dedicated to safety and posts could range from simple safety updates to distributing safety manuals and guidelines to communicating accident investigation findings.
2. Encourage group discussion through thought-provoking questions and contests.
One of the best ways to increase workplace safety is to receive suggestions from workers who are in the trenches on a day-to-day basis. Once you have established a safety group on a social media website, you could post interesting safety questions/issues that relate to your workplace and encourage workers to respond with suggestions or recommendations. Further incentivize workers by making it into a contest with some type of reward system!
3. Use YouTube to help workers feel accountable for safety by demonstrating safe work practices.
By now you’ve hopefully realized the hazards associated with particular job procedures at your workplace. Instead of talking about these procedures or hazards theoretically or only having an annual training meeting regarding these hazards (which you should probably do too), why not get your workers involved, arm them with some type of video camera, and have them take a video on the proper way to perform a specific task safely? The resulting videos could be edited and placed on a company YouTube account, where videos are private and only employees can access them. Employees could then refer to this directory of safe procedures on a continual basis rather than waiting for the next time a training meeting is scheduled.
4. Create a company blog where employees can access safety newsletters and articles—and maybe even create one themselves!
There are several options out there if your company wants to start a blog (e.g., Wordpress). Many of these options allow you to make your site public, private, or to block it from search engines. You could create a blog or website specifically focused on safety, where updates are posted, suggestions can be made and tracked, and pictures and videos can be shared. This is a great way to put a whole lot of safety content and media in one place for convenient access for employees. Many of these content management platforms, such as Wordpress, also allow you to create forums within the blog or website, where employees can chat with each other and share ideas, experiences, and best practices.