Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

NSSGA Podcast

Mar 3, 2022

Today, Libby is joined by Dave Cress, a safety consultant who has worked in the safety field for decades. His experience includes being a safety officer for the US Army Corps of Engineers and an inspector for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy for 28 years, after which he has provided safety training for over 15 years. In this episode, Dave discusses hosting safety training and how important it is to ask yourself when training, 'Am I being understood?'.

Episode Highlights:

  • Once, when Dave was hosting a refresher training, he noticed some students talking amongst themselves throughout the presentation
  • It turned out that English was their second language, and they were actually helping each other by translating the training information so they all could understand it
  • This experience highlighted for Dave the fact that presenters must be flexible in their training styles to meet the needs of the audience, and when they hear people talking to one another during their presentation, it's important to check in and see what's going on
  • One technique Dave uses is to print out materials in English and Spanish for students to read and review


  • Dave’s advice to presenters is to “Learn about your audience before you arrive, have handouts and presentations in multiple languages, use many graphics and have any necessary translators available. As a safety trainer, ask yourself, 'Am I being understood?'”

Toolbox Talk Discussion Questions:

  • Clear communication is essential to ensure that the team understands all safety discussions. How are we doing as a company at being understood when it comes to safety procedures? How could we improve?
  • People learn differently; for instance, some prefer written communications and others learn best by listening. How can our company convey safety messages that work for various learning styles?
  • Does anyone have a story about a miscommunication that led to unsafe practices, or successful communication that improved safety?


“They weren't loud or distracting to others, but I worried they weren't paying attention. It was not until later that I realized that the students were helping each other translate my presentation, English was their second language.”


“They were asking each other questions, double checking to see that they understood the training properly.”


“This turned out to be an 'aha moment' for me. As a safety trainer, it's my responsibility to communicate important information, I have to be flexible in training styles and meet the needs of the audience.”


“Maybe there's a translation issue. Maybe there's a clarity issue that you can help clarify. You now also need to make sure the translator, if you're using a translator, properly understands the material and can successfully explain it to the co-worker. “


“Making sure that that message really comes through is so essential because so much of what we do comes down to communication.”


National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association website