The message of safety and security
The safety and security policies and procedures at any company are often extensive. But whether or not those policies are communicated consistently and effectively can make or break the facility’s overall safety and security.
Obviously, it is important to communicate internally with employees on a regular basis. This rings doubly true for communicating the policies and procedures regarding safety and security, perhaps even more so in an environment that is considered a public place (airport, amusement park, public transit, event arena, etc.). The issue of safety and security affects all businesses, regardless of the industry or market, but some may be affected more than others. Public facilities and spaces are heavily used, vast in size and draw large numbers of people.
Communicating effectively the safety and security policies of the organization is not an easy endeavor in public facilities. It is especially difficult in those industries that rely on seasonal labor and experience high turnover. While it is to be expected—for instance, at an amusement park open only during the summer—the challenges associated with such highs and lows in employment make communication a little tougher. Still, keeping everyone abreast of new and current safety and security plans is important for everyone at the organization. Training is key.
After 9/11, many companies revamped and revised their safety and security and emergency policies. That one event changed our collective viewpoint of what the term “safe and secure” really means, putting end-users in a position of having to change the ways in which their businesses operate on a daily business.
Those who deal with public places have a weighty challenge. Because of the large number of people each place is responsible for, such organizations need to make sure every member of their team is well educated and trained—from the head of public relations to the roller coaster operator to the Zamboni driver.
Safety and security policies must be included in an employee handbook and all personnel should have a copy and review its policies at least once. They should understand the company’s philosophy of security and what they need to do to contribute to its success. There should be some sort of acknowledgement, such as a signature, to verify that they have reviewed the document.
For companies that are more electronically connected, the safety and security statements could also be posted on an employee-only intranet, with changes and announcements updated on an ongoing basis.
Often, such a policy goes through numerous changes. If this is the case, you may want to consider implementing a scheduled event, such as a mandatory companywide meeting every so often to discuss the changes and the expectations the employer has of personnel.
Managing in a public setting takes talent. Not only are you responsible for your employees (as in all business operations), but you are also ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of those who use your facility, whether it is a couple taking the train to visit friends or a business group traveling out of an airport or even the family reunion at your amusement park. When they visit a public facility, they expect to be safe and secure and want to feel that steps have been taken to ensure their safety. Keeping safety and security first and foremost in everyone’s minds may be the proactive approach needed to prevent tragedies and it starts from within. EC