There can be no language barrier when you’re communicating life-saving health and safety messages to workers who are at risk on a daily basis.
This is Cantonese for, “The lifting supervisor makes sure that the entire area is clear of workers before the lift, and that correct lifting equipment and lifting points are used.” We have also translated the same sentence in Mandarin, Nepalese, Begali, Thai, Tamil and Burmese in one of the 10 comic brochures we created for Gammon Construction.
Gammon Construction is a Hong Kong based, international building and construction company with unparalleled local expertise in piling, foundations, substructures, tunnelling, bridges, building, marine works and water storage schemes. They draw their workforce from the most populated to the most remote parts of the Asian continent and beyond.
With building and construction being in the top ten of “The World’s Most Dangerous Jobs”, the company is constantly confronted with the need to develop effective safety messages that will reach each and every member of the workforce.
“We wanted to draw our workers’ attention to something more unusual and decided to go for comic-style communications. We were also aware that the construction industry in the Middle East used cartoons very successfully. Some of the advantages include that they are easy to print in different languages,” said Tony Small, Director of Health, Safety and Sustainability at Gammon.
We offered Gammon Construction the solution they were looking for, by developing a series of ten 2 page comic brochures entitled “Our Choices” on topics ranging from staying out of exclusion zones, to correct methods for rigging and lifting.
More than 5000 Gammon employees receive educational, visually engaging messages in their mother tongue. They followed the interactions of three characters; a supervisor, an older more experienced worker and a new employee. This way, all the workers could find a character to identify with, which made them more receptive to the safety message.
The brochures were handed out and discussed at morning assemblies and lunch meetings at the sites and then taken back again. At the end of the day, the workers could take a copy home to discuss the safety topics with their friends and family. There were also Key Message and Coming Soon posters placed on all sites highlighting the key messages of previous issues, and reminding the workforce to look out for the next instalment of ‘Our Choices’.
Tony Small believes that “today, people seem to be more prepared to take chances even if they know the risks. That is why we as leaders need to be very consistent, set very high standards and make sure they are implemented and enforced.” The Our Choices campaign helps them do just that.