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How to use social media to promote HSE

Posted by NOSA on Sep 11, 2017 1:00:00 PM

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Social media is no longer a new-fangled gimmick used solely by teenagers. For instance, the largest age demographic on Facebook are people between the ages of 25 and 34 – people presumably already in the throes of their professional career. Instead of treating social media like a much-maligned interloper, take the opportunity to determine how to harness its power and reach to increase your efforts at managing and minimising risk in the workplace. Here’s how.

Potential barriers to using social media

Using social media to promote workplace safety isn’t without potential issues. Generally, employers already worry about employees using their personal social media accounts while at the office, possibly affecting:

  • productivity
  • data security and
  • network security.


As an employer, employees ‘friending’ one another (and other contact) on social media can expose you to possible legal issues. Even the social media use policies you write to help control use can pose legal issues if they have been poorly written or administered. Allow your HR department to take the lead in developing, communicating and enforcing social media policies and on keeping tabs on the changing legal landscape of social media to ensure employees remain within the confines of what you deem acceptable.


Despite the business pluses of social media sites and tools, they can create issues of security and legal liability, and there is still relatively little case law for an organisation to turn to when weighing the risks. Be aware: Use of social media at work – by employees for personal use or by you as the employer as an official tool – can open your organisation up to the following:

  • The possibility for hackers to commit fraud and launch spam and virus attacks.
  • The risk of people falling prey to online scams that seem genuine, resulting in data or identity theft or a compromise of the company's computer security.
  • A potential outlet for negative comments from employees about the organisation.
  • Legal consequences if employees use these sites to view or distribute objectionable, illicit or offensive material.


Advantages of using social media

It’s not all one big gamble on the part of employers – there are genuine advantages to using social media in the workplace, because it:

  • facilitates open communication, leading to enhanced information discovery and delivery
  • allows employees to discuss ideas, post news, ask questions and share links
  • targets a wide audience
  • promotes diversity and inclusion
  • expands market research, implements marketing campaigns, delivers communications and directs interested people to specific websites.


Some general social media platforms to consider

Google+ is a big plus for safety

Google’s social platform has been a bit of a dark horse since its launch. But businesses, academic communities, and journalists have quietly been making Google+ a growing source of content-rich information and interaction, and we’re seeing more and more safety enthusiasts on Google+. Another benefit is that visual content looks really great on Google’s clean, well-designed interface, so your message gets a great presentation. Communities are another destination to connect over safety subjects. For example, if your business extends over various geographical locales, Google Classrooms can be an ideal way to communicate safety issues/discussions/talks to as many employees in one sitting as possible.


Workplace safety in 140 characters or less

If you haven’t checked out Twitter for HSE news, make it a priority. Some of the most impromptu but enlightening conversations between companies and consumers happen every day on Twitter, and that’s lead to countless popular marketing campaigns, but also a few brand-damaging missteps. However, many safety agencies and regulatory bodies have a Twitter presence, and are using the service for everything from publication updates, breaking news of accidents or emergencies, to spreading awareness about issues via hashtags and live chats. This creates high visibility of day-to-day safety concerns in a way that’s unprecedented for the industry.


Developing connections on LinkedIn

The world’s largest professional network boasts over 300 million members, and has an expansive community of safety experts. Groups such as OSHA Discussion & Support, and Construction Health and Safety, are full of debates and candid perspectives on safety. It’s very easy to connect with HSE professionals through this medium.


Having said that, Facebook, doesn’t offer the same conversational interface that Google+ and Twitter do, and many people may understandably be less comfortable with using their personal Facebook accounts to interact with, or promote, professional or informational content. While high luxury brands have had success using Facebook as a promotional tool, there may be more value in the network-building conversational atmosphere on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.


12 interactive HSE apps to use

When it comes to spreading the safety message in-house, interactive apps are a sure-fire way to achieve this. Take a look at the following twelve apps you should contemplate in your workplace safety drive.


StaySafe Business app

Price: Free

Available from: Apple AppStore, Android GooglePlay store, Windows Store and Blackberry


StaySafe is a cloud based monitoring solution, which provides personal protection for lone workers anywhere in the world. The app is very easy to use and tracks location in real time, enabling employees to check in safely and request immediate assistance if required. All you need to do is set the duration and location of your work, and add any notes about the nature of your lone working session. Then the app starts tracking. StaySafe offers a huge range of alerts and functions that are all customisable to meet your individual needs. All you need is your smart phone or tablet – no additional equipment is needed.


Health and Safety Awareness by Gomo Learning Limited

Price: Free

Available from: Apple AppStore


Designed specifically for healthcare, this useful educational app teaches you about the essential Health and Safety guidelines you must adhere to. Course topics include:

  • Accidents and incidents
  • Reporting procedures
  • Hazardous substances
  • The work environment

You are asked questions while reading to check your understanding and improve your knowledge. Risk Service Officers give you expert guidance while you are using the app through videos, and feedback on questions and examples. 


Occupational Health and Safety by 10x Media Pty Ltd

Price: Free

Available from: Apple AppStore and Android GooglePlay Store


Similar to the Health and Safety Awareness app, the Occupational Health and Safety App will keep you on the forefront of OH&S and Workplace Safety training, best practices, and information on the following topics from their featured experts and publishers.

Here are a few topics covered in the App: 

  • Occupational Health
  • Workplace Safety
  • OH&S Training and Tutorials
  • OH&S Jobs across the UK, USA, Australia and Canada
  • Facebook and Twitter Discussions  

This app keeps you informed and up to date on the latest in Health and Safety.


OHS Health and Safety Pocket App by Showtime Online

Price: Free

Available from: Apple AppStore and Android GooglePlay store


This app brings all of the latest HSE industry news from the HSE and OHS. This app is the first place for UK business, organisations and professionals to get information that covers industry news and legislation to support health and safety requirements. The app also includes details of health and safety events that are happening across the UK so that you can keep up to date with the industry and attend events that interest you. Supporting UK HSE businesses, the app features a useful downloads section that covers a wide variety of informative tips and guidance notes to assist you with your internal health and safety policies.


dB Volume Meter by Amanda Gates

Price: R13

Available from: Apple AppStore 


This app provides a simple way to measure audio volumes in your working environment. Featuring the approximate decibel level, also known as the sound pressure level (SPL). You can monitor audio volumes at work from for example machinery, to maintain your health and safety. Anything over the 80dB can lead to potential hearing damage so appropriate equipment is required.


First Aid app

Price: Free

Available from: iTunes and Google Play


The official app from the American Red Cross allows immediate access to expert information. Easy-to-digest step-by-step instruction lets workers and managers quickly and efficiently address an array of mishaps, accidents, and serious injuries. It is available in English and Spanish, is integrated with 911 and has assisted video learning.


Heat Safety Tool app

Price: Free

Available from: iTunes and Google Play


Workers and supervisors calculate weather conditions and make educated decisions using this app. The app will compute health risk levels; prompt users on wearing and using protective gear; remind workers to take breaks, drink water, etc. It’s an all-in-one guide for all industries and related tasks. Key features include:

  • calculating the heat index
  • providing heat illness signs and symptoms
  • displaying warnings of possible threats to workers.


Ladder Safety app

Price: Free

Available from: iTunes and Google Play


Many ladder-related accidents are preventable. Aside from taking risks and lacking spotters, workers may wrongly angle ladders, which leads to injury and health hazards. This app uses visual and sound signals to position the ladder in the safest position. It’s 508 compliant, is suited with a multi-modal indicator and offers interactive reference material.


Ergonomic app

Price: R14

Available from: iTunes and Google Play


For many workers, the day offers limited or no field work, yet, ironically, sitting for long periods poses health risks. The Ergonomics app is replete with equipment advice, workplace specific stretch exercises, and prompts that remind users to take breaks. Stretches feature original illustrations and succinct instruction. It also provides workplace-specific exercises, original illustrations, and a countdown timer.


iAuditor Checklist

Price: Free

Available from: iTunes and Google Play


iAuditor users build forms according to industry. The automatic sync feature allows managers to self-audit teams in real time as data loads to office computers. You can also customise reports, enjoy the drag-and-drop interface and export in your preferred report format.


Sling Calculator

Price: R375

Available from: iTunes and Google Play


The Sling Calculator avoids mishaps by helping to select rigging while considering the shape of the load. Sling tension measurements can be determined and sent via a PDF to cohorts and managers for confirmation and redirection. Key features include specifying your desired unit of measurement; computing volume and weight to avoid hazards, and choosing among one of four bridle configurations.


Chemical Hazards Pocket Guide

Price: R120

Available from: iTunes


The Chemical Hazards Pocket Guide helps first responders identify and protect others in the wake of a chemical-related accident. Each chemical is aligned with its aliases and trade names along with a physical description and advising whether it’s dangerous to inhale, if it’s flammable, etc. It also provides concise industrial hygiene information and offline access.








Topics: work safety, HSE best practice, HSE and social media, social media

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