“How many times do I have to tell you?”

Ever hear that before? Sure you have; we all have. The interesting thing about this is that as frustrated as we may get about being told something repeatedly, it’s how we learn and retain the information. Consider this – one study found that making a point once at the end of a presentation led to ten percent of the audience who would remember it. However, if that point was made six times throughout the presentation, the retention rate would jump to 90 percent. That’s quite a difference.

Now let’s talk a little about safety; specifically safety at your workplace. You have a detailed plan, probably some sort of manual that outlines policies and procedures and roles and responsibilities; there are most likely safety posters placed at key spots in the building; maybe you hold monthly safety meetings; maybe you even hold safety drills on a regular basis. Hopefully, your safety program is all of the above and more. Why? Because workplace safety is not a one and done. The more ways and the more times we can get the safety message out to employees, the better chance they will retain the information and what they retain they can put into practice. Repetition creates familiarity and that leads to understanding. Employees are likely to be more diligent about safety practices when they understand them. Repetition is a key method for learning.

Ever hear of the Universal Speakers’ Law? It goes something like this: Tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them. If you want to get your point across, this sure makes sense to me.

Safety in the workplace is not something that just happens; it is planned, implemented and practiced every day. It has to be for it to work.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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