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Social Media and Safety

April 20, 2015

Social media is common place in today’s world and work place.  Social media can be successfully used by a company to help promote and advertise company information, success stories and events.  Can social media also be used within the workplace to strengthen the safety culture?  An article by Terry L. Mathis on ehstoday.com talks about the success some companies have had by implementing a social media stream for employees specifically within the workplace.

The companies he examined all followed specific protocol: they first started out with a small group in order to test the success of the social media before spreading it companywide, they closely monitored the involved employees through surveys and focused group interviews and also monitored the social media discussions and comments, lastly they were all able to provide the employees with the same sort of technology and internet access/IT help.

The article states that the companies were very pleased with the results of the small starter groups!  They listed four advantages that the social media usage provided:

  • Organizations with “logistical challenges” were able to effectively communicate on a daily basis. This daily interaction provided advantages over the normal once a year companywide meeting as more employees could interact and share best practices.
  • Safety data such as near misses, accidents and lessons learned from these incidences were greatly shared among employees and their communication was greatly increased. Being able to quickly share safety data, near misses and how to efficiently avoid other similar accidents throughout the company was much more welcome via the social media than other communication methods.
  • Employees felt more in tune with company leaders and higher management. They felt that the leaders were more accessible, listened to their safety suggestions and that there was a more open dialog between workers and management than before.
  • Employee communication improved. They talked more openly about safety issues and felt that teamwork was at an all time high.

This article brings up a lot of interesting information regarding the effects of social media within the workplace and brings to light how important the change in technology and use of the internet affects businesses as well as individuals.  Improving communication about safety and opening up employees to safety suggestions as well as problems that they can help solve is a great use for social media.  It will be interesting to see how social media is continued to be used within the workplace in the future.

Mathis, Terry L. “Safety Culture and Social Media.” www.ehstoday.com. March 26, 2015. April 14, 2015. <http://ehstoday.com/safety/safety-culture-and-social-media>

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