Communication: say what?!

Good communication at work is essential for safe and efficient operations. You don’t want any misunderstandings when you are spotting for a 30 tonne haul truck in a busy open cut pit, setting explosives into the backs of an underground mine or working on a scaffold 20 stories up.

Part of good communication is using the accepted terminology that applies to the business or industry that you are in.  But remember, some of the people you are communicating with may be new to the industry or may not be native English speakers.

Using industry jargon can be a hazardous task.  Googling mining and civil construction terms recently opened my eyes to some VERY interesting facts.

Did you know:

  • Dogging is not just a term for slinging a load and directing a crane or hoist. It is also British slang for having sex in a public place or watching others doing it¹.
  • Suspension Trauma is not just a possible consequence of falling from heights while wearing a fall protection harness.  It is also a hazard that can occur when a human body is suspended from hooks that have been put through temporary body piercings².
  • Try looking up ‘Drilled into butt hole’ in Google and see what you get!  Obviously I was trying to find information about an explosion caused when a mining jumbo operator drilled too close to a misfired explosive in a drillhole butt³.

Communication is a two-way process that, in its simplest form, involves a sender, a message and a receiver.  It is important that both the sender and the receiver actively participate in the communication process, to ensure that the message is delivered effectively and a common meaning is understood. The best way to do this is to ask questions and provide feedback.

This is called ‘positive communication’ and when used at work it can minimise the dangerous or embarrassing outcomes that are a result of miscommunication.

For further information on communicating in the workplace, contact Pertrain Pty Ltd on (07) 5445 2233.

• Wikipedia, Dogging (sexual slang),
• Wikipedia, Suspension (body modification),
• Sheridan, R. 2006, Safety Alert: Accidental initiation of misfired explosives by drill impact,