• Background noise can severely limit the amount of communication that takes place in an industrial setting.
• ListenTalk systems provide a simple solution that will work in a variety of scenarios.
• Effectively communicating to investors, executives, trainees, and others on facility tours can guide the safety of participants, provide a medium for clear communications, and ensure a good experience for all involved.
How to Use ListenTalk in Your Facility
There’s an old rule of thumb that’s used for checking if the noise levels in a facility are high enough to require hearing protection. The rule says that if you are standing three feet apart from a coworker and need to raise your voice to be heard, the noise level is loud enough to require hearing protection.
This rule may be a friendly reminder for when to wear hearing protection, but it leaves out some critical considerations when it comes to communication in the workplace. If you have to raise your voice to be heard at three feet apart, what if you are communicating to a large group on a tour or training? What if those individuals are wearing earplugs? Does only the nearest one who you are projecting to actually hear you? And for the rest of the group, how much of the message reaches them? Are the words clearly heard and understood, or are some participants walking away with no idea what was just said?
When it comes to safety, these communication issues must be solved to make sure the communications get through loud and clear. One way to help convey the message is the use of ListenTalk systems.
Many incident investigations reveal that failures of communication were a root cause of accidents and injuries. Think of situations where missed communications in your workplace could lead to issues. One example I have experienced was instructing new employees on the safe routes to take across a facility, not realizing they couldn’t hear the instruction.
Another example is maintenance professionals coordinating a task over the sounds of a noisy factory. Typically if teams are working in different areas, they may be communicating with radios, requiring their hands to be free or by the use of a signal person. However, with ListenTalk, maintenance crews can hear the same message and be hands-free.
Although using ListenTalk will not provide hearing protection, it will give the assurance of clearer communication.
Of the times that employees are likely to be injured, the first few months in a new job are some of the most dangerous. On-the-job training almost always has a large portion that occurs in the field. If employees can’t hear the instructor during training, they are much more likely only to grasp the concepts partially, if at all.
What key elements of the safety program rely on training in the facility to make sure employees can do their jobs safely? What issues could be caused if this training wasn’t heard?
In today’s complex industrial spaces, employees have to understand procedures. This could involve technical issues like lockout tagout or simpler tasks like operator’s routes. If the original training suffers due to poor communication, so will the employee’s long term performance. Using ListenTalk systems can provide an easy way for the trainer to communicate with employees.
I have gone on tours of so many facilities where the leader was followed by a group of people who were just smiling and nodding. Have you ever seen this? Occasionally, a leader may even point at a specific process, and everyone turns to look, but you know the group has missed the entire explanation.
I’ve been there.
I’ve also given these tours and questioned if any of my messages were really getting through.
When guiding any visitor from executives to students to investors to consultants, issues with communication can be detrimental to the situation.
The investors want to know if the company is safe before making a decision. But how can you explain complex industrial safety systems to people who aren’t familiar with the equipment? Often, the explanation has to lead to understanding to help sway a decision.
For our executive visits, I was once put on the spot by a group of C-suite professionals who wanted to know everything about a recent incident. I was able to explain it on the floor. Still, when we reviewed the specifics back in a conference room, I found that many had watched where I was pointing, but couldn’t hear me and had all come to different conclusions about what had actually happened during the incident. This caused a lot of concern and confusion. It took over an hour to sort out and get everyone on the same page. That entire issue could have been avoided with a communication system.
Hosting visitors like students and families of employees can be a great way to get community support. However, visitors are usually not accustomed to the serious hazards of industrial environments. This means tours need to be conducted with a focus on safety. Simple things we take for granted, like staying in pedestrian paths when forklifts are present, could be totally new to a visitor. Instructing visitors where it is safe to walk and how to behave in an industrial facility is a critical part of making sure the tour is safe and fun.
Often the purpose of tours is to educate members of the public about the facility. This involves explaining concepts and describing processes. These communications have to be heard, seen, and understood be to be appreciated by the audience. An enjoyable tour can result in better community support and more interest from potential future employees. It’s a great chance to make a first impression. ListenTalk systems can help to facilitate that.
Using ListenTalk in Your Facility
There are plenty of good reasons to incorporate technology that assists communication in noisy environments. For most of us, safety is the most important. The communications a business makes to stakeholders, executives, and members of the community are also crucially important. Using a system like ListenTalk can ensure that your message gets across clearly while visitors stay safe.