When working in an isolated, limited-communication environment, safety becomes a top priority. In recent years, technology has made it easier for workers to stay connected no matter where they are. Yet, there are still certain risks that come with decentralised workspaces. From an inability to fulfil daily working tasks to serious injuries, these risks can cause trouble for employers and employees. Therefore, in order to help you minimise the chances of such events, we’ll present you with methods for staying safe in a limited-communication workplace.
But first, we should note that a limited-communication work environment is a setting that does not allow for direct contact between employees. For example, construction sites can be spread over an enormous area, which means workers won’t be able to talk face to face. Furthermore, these types of workplaces usually don't offer a centralised communication system. Therefore, the mutual exchange of information is virtually impossible.
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Risks of Limited-Communication Work Environment
As we’ve mentioned, the risks that come with these environments can range from fairly harmless to fatal. In the best-case scenario, miscommunicationwill make it hard for employees to complete their tasks properly or timely. On the other hand, a worst-case scenario might involve serious and even deadly injuries as a result of the inability to communicate warnings to colleagues. Furthermore, even the feelings of helplessness and isolation your employees might have are far from negligible.
If you want to bypass these issues and make your limited-communication working environment safer for everybody, here are some ways to do so.
Preventing Safety Risks in Limited-Communication Work Environments
In this day and age, wireless headsets are arguably the best way to improve communication between workers. First of all, thanks to accelerated technological advancements, modern wireless headsets offer an amazing range and long battery life. Therefore, your employees will be able to use them throughout their shift, no matter how far they go. In addition, most headphones will provide workers with comfort and great sound quality, which means they will be more likely to use them.
Last but not least, this piece of equipment allows direct communication between co-workers and supervisors. As a result, it can prevent most of the issues and risks that have been previously mentioned. Namely, thanks to the continual connection with the management, workers will stay briefed on their daily tasks. Also, they will be able to inform managers about their progress and problems that might occur along the way. Finally, wireless headsets enable co-workers to warn each other about potential threats, which can prevent them altogether or minimise their impact.
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However, we should mention that there are some drawbacks to this communication system. First of all, headsets often block sounds from the outside world. And even though this might be a plus in noisy environments such as construction sites, it can pose a problem in other workplaces. For example, wait staff must be aware of their surroundings at all times, which means that these headphones are not an option for them.
Furthermore, wireless headsets can become a nuisance and hamper the productivity of your employees. Namely, by engaging in constant back and forth with their colleagues, workers might become overwhelmed and lose sight of their goals. Note, however, that one way to resolve this issue is to use voice assistants or other tools to manage communication.
Establishing a signalling system might be another great way to reduce risks related to a limited-communication workplace. Depending on the type of environment you are dealing with, these signals can be visual, auditory, or a combination of the two. For example, road constructors will benefit more from visual signals as sound indicators might go unnoticed because of loud noises. On the other hand, kitchen staff might be better off with auditory cues, considering how divided their attention usually is.
One of the main benefits of this method is its simplicity. Namely, instead of investing in high-tech gadgets for all employees, you can opt for one centralised system. Plus, workers won’t be distracted by a constant stream of information, as is the case with headsets. Instead, whenever a piece of information needs to be conveyed, they will receive a signal carrying that information.
Finally, an elaborate signalling system can prevent most of the aforementioned issues. By assigning meaning to different signals, managers can direct workers’ performance and warn them of any potential danger. A fire alarm is a great example of a workplace signal that can protect employees and even save their lives. On the other hand, message boards and mobile apps are perfect tools for supervising work flows.
However, there are certain limits to this otherwise sound system. Firstly, most signalling systems are one-sided, and you won’t be able to get direct feedback from the recipients. In addition, they are often used for top-to-bottom communication, which means workers won’t be able to message each other. Therefore, if employees find themselves in danger, they won’t be able to reach help using this sort of system.
One way to bypass this limit is by introducing wearable panic buttons — small wireless gadgets that employees carry around and activate when in danger. For example, if a hotel staff member is in a life-threatening situation, their hotel panic button can alert security and potentially save their life. Additionally, AlwaysOn panic buttons have a location tracker and work without WiFi, which makes them perfect for any environment. So, much like a fire alarm, this signalling system allows anyone to send out a warning and get immediate support.
Workplace miscommunication can have serious consequences for the company and its workers. However, by employing some of the methods we’ve mentioned in this article, you can avoid these consequences and create a safe working environment.
Whether you opt for wireless headsets or a unique signalling system, your employees will remain secure no matter what dangerous work situations they may face.
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