Efficient communication of safety information : the use of internal communication by the Gautrain–project
Greeff, Wilhelmina Johanna
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Safety has become one of the greatest gauging factors for organisational success, within the mining and construction industry of South Africa. This is due to the fact that organisations and their employees are expected to adhere to safety legislation, or risk permanent shutdown. Notwithstanding this importance, methods of communicating safety information to employees have not yet been widely researched – especially not within the unique context of the combined mining and construction industry of South Africa. In the light of the above, this study focused on researching those internal communication methods most suited for the communication of safety information. The systems theory as meta-theory, and the stakeholder relationship theory, the excellence theory and dual-capacity model were used to frame the study. An extensive literature review was firstly conducted, identifying and discussing internal communication methods, their use within the South African mining and construction industry, and specifically their application to safety communication. The concepts of communication satisfaction and communication effectiveness of internal safety communication, as well as employee relations were investigated. Secondly the application of these internal safety communication methods was then further researched empirically within the Gautrain project – specifically its Precast Yard –which is seated within both the mining, as well as the construction industry, as it has to adhere to safety legislations from both industries. This empirical research was done by means of questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, as well as a discussion of the communication channels employed by the organisation. This accounted for a triangulated approach of using quantitative, as well as qualitative methodologies. From this empirical research it was seen that the Precast Yard of the Gautrain project adheres to the guidelines set in the literature in some circumstances, whilst in others it does not. From these shortcomings, seven recommendations were formulated for the improvement of safety communication in this organisation. These include the proposal that safety communications should be strategically managed by integrating all forms of communication, so that external factors that may impact on this communication are factored in. Furthermore, the communication of safety information should strive to reflect the diverse viewpoints of the employees, as it endeavours to foster a relationship with them. Briefly, this study, therefore, focused on identifying and reporting on those methods and techniques suited for the internal communication of safety information, specifically within the South African mining and construction industry, thereby expanding the field.
- Humanities 
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