May 2018 - Effective Communication Improves Safety

Alert of the Month

Consider the following radio transmission from a supervisor to a worker:

Hey (radio static) go down in the valley. The one with the S4 creek. There’s something (radio static) going on down there.

What’s the problem with this communication and what could go wrong?

If the transmission was clearer, the full transmission would be heard with a very different message:

Hey don’t go down in the valley. The one with the S4 creek. There’s something weird going on down there.

There are three key components of communications:
     1) message,
     2) delivery and
     3) reception.
If one of those is missing, the communication will fail.

1) Building a Solid Message

2) A Good Delivery

3) Message Received?

Situations That Require Safety Critical Communication

Cable Yarding Commands
whistles and radio commands
Radio communications on Resource Roads
calling kms and using pull outs
Emergency incidents
communicating what people and resources are required
Communication between falling partners
calls for qualified assistance
Logging equipment working in close proximity
communicating locations and staying out of hazard zones

Barriers to Communication

Here are some potential barriers to good communication that you may need to manage:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Literacy challenges
  • Jargon
  • English as a 2nd Language
  • Distraction
  • Bullying
  • Noise
  • Hearing disabilities
  • Technical terms
  • Poor equipment


  1. Attend Forest Supervisor Communications Training
  2. First Aid Drill Resources – ideas on how to practice emergency communications
  3. How Loud Is It? Forestry specific hearing information


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