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Business Owners and Managers

4 Ways to Improve Work Site Communication

We all know the saying – “Time is money.” Well, when you are on the job site, every second counts. The longer it takes to do one job, the less time you will have for the next job. When you have a team, accurate and concise communication is key for efficient job flow to equal more money in your pocket.

One thing to remember when it comes to communication is a call and response. When one person calls out a command – the other needs to respond in a way that shows the first person that they understand the command. Note, this isn’t just a head nod or a thumbs up – there needs to be a way to communicate to that team member that you understood what they said. That all team members understand for each type of command. For example when a worker says “stand clear” an unappropriated response would be “Yeah” or “Ok” because it isn’t apparent that they understood what was said. An appropriate response would be “All clear.” With this, verbal communication is difficult on a worksite – it is near impossible to vocally communicate without stopping equipment and workflow. Here are some tips to keep you working and saving time.

1. Plan your work, work your plan

Have a pre-job briefing and site inspection with your crew by using the H.O.P.E. acronym.

  • H – Hazards. Look out for anything that might be a hazard to the crew such as electrical lines, animals, weather threats. Call attention to where hazards are and how you want to avoid or work around them.

  • O – Obstacles. Things that are or might get in the way of your work. Most of the time, obstacles can be moved; others, like a pool, cannot. Communicate what protocol you would like your crew to take when you see these.

  • P – Plan.  Keeping the above two in mind, come up with a plan for how to efficiently work to maximize job flow while always keeping safety in the forefront. Your team member who has a plan will need less instruction throughout the day.

  • E – Equipment. Keep all equipment well maintained – because an unkempt tool is a noisy tool – until it is a broken tool. With this, make sure your team is well versed on the proper way to use specific tool and how that applies to each property.

2. Hand Signals

Keep. It. Simple. When it comes to hand signals – try not to have anything overly complex. This can cause more problems than help. Use what works best for your site and your team but remember to keep it simple, concise, clear and consistent.

3. Whistles

Noise makers or whistle can be helpful because they carry a far distance. They are also more professional than yelling across lawns or in trees. Along with hand signals, the key is to be concise and clear.

4. Headsets

This might be a big investment but depending on your crew and the type of work you are doing (Tree falling?) the ability to speak clearly and directly to someone on your team might be worth the venture. A few things to consider would be range, ease of use and privacy.

“We all work hard enough during the average day. There is no need to struggle with the simple task of addressing another crew member. Work together as a team to solve communication issues just as you work together to complete a job. We will all be safer and more productive for it.”

Read the full article by Anthony Tresselt on Tree Service Magazine at www.treeservicesmagazine.com

Let us know in the forum what you use to keep communication open on the job site.