Creative approach to a serious topic

Article image - Creative approach to a serious topic Workplace Health and Safety is fun as well as serious at Surf Coast Shire Council

Surf Coast Shire Council, Victoria joined with students from a local university to creatively engage staff in conversations about Workplace Health and Safety (WHS).

When Surf Coast Shire Council employees walked into work recently, they were surprised to see a colourful campaign in action.
After being greeted by a giant snakes and ladders game, eye-catching poster characters and a post-it wall to share their thoughts, employees learnt the important topic they were going to discuss was workplace health and safety.

Deakin University interns Brodie Davies and Natasha Penny took a lead role and joined Council’s People and Culture team to coordinate the ‘Let’s Talk Safety’ campaign.

Conversation and laughter echoed throughout Council’s atrium space, which was a hive of activity during the opening day of the WHS display.

“It’s made a strong impact,” said Brodie, a graphic design student who helped bring the campaign to life.

“People have been walking in and asking ‘what is this?’ before stopping and having a go at the game.”

With Workplace Health and Safety often a difficult topic to involve employees in, Natasha – a human resources student who helped develop the campaign – said it aimed to change the stigma around WHS.

“We wanted to create a positive, engaging campaign that is not just the usual drilling of protocols in the organisation.

“Using stories – real ones from real employees – will hopefully entice an emotive reaction and ensure workers relate to the scenarios.”

The interactive snakes and ladders saw people land on a board game square before answering a WHS question ranging from when to wear sunscreen to explaining Council’s valuable Employee Assistance Program.

Correct answers were rewarded with snacks. Participants then advanced to the post-it wall where they finished the sentence: ‘To me, health and safety is important because…’

Personal stories of employees’ experiences with health and safety were rolled out, along with ‘Our Safety Family’ – made up of characters created in GIF form and featuring on posters.

People and Culture Manager Leanne Perryman was delighted with how well-received the campaign was by employees

 “Brodie and Tash have taken our basic ideas and developed a fun and interactive campaign that has people talking and participating.

The light-hearted approach proved successful, as people are learning crucial information but having fun while doing so.”