When it comes to safety, articulating your thoughts not only helps point out safety issues before they cause injury or even death, speaking up also projects confidence and can earn you the respect of others.
Whether you’re mentioning someone’s potentially unsafe habits or criticizing a dangerous process, mentioning concerns is critical, but it can also stressful. It’s easy for an honest expression of concern to be seen as a nagging complaint. Thankfully, good supervisors tend to favor the former, as honest feedback is essential to a functional workplace.
However, if you’re concerned about how you’ll appear, the following strategies can help ease the blow when delivering criticisms and concerns.
Get the Timing Correct
Your first objective ought to be getting the timing right. If you’re in the midst of a meeting on non-safety issues, blurting out your safety concerns is not doing to help your cause. You should also avoid bringing up minor concerns during a crisis situation.
The best approach is to schedule time with your supervisor for a private meeting. This will ensure you can adequately lay out your concerns and have an effective conversation.
When you bring up safety concerns or any type of concerns for that matter, be specific about them. Going to your supervisor with a broad complaint like “this place is a death trap” could damage your reputation and discredit your concern. Instead, mention particular instances or problem points that you think have to be confronted. The more specific, the better: Don’t mince words when it comes to safety or hesitate to go into detail. That being said, it’s also important to remain respectful of others, as doing so will help your cause.
Focus on the Facts
If you’re upset about the way safety has been poorly handled, try to get rid of that feeling. Concentrate on the facts and come to your supervisor without carrying emotional baggage. For instance, if a coworker laughed off your instructions to follow safe procedures, talk to your boss about the potential consequences of an employee refusing to work safely, rather than venting your frustration or anger toward the other person.
Also, you should be prepared to accept facts that go against your argument. If the facts show you are incorrect to raise a safety concern, you should accept them, drop the issue and move on.
Approach your boss with at least one potential solution in mind. If you come with possible answers to your problem, it will show you’ve thought through the issue and you’re looking to move forward, as opposed to dwelling on the past. Approaching your boss with solutions will also improve the odds your supervisor will act on your concerns.
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