The role of semiotics in health, safety, and environment communication in South African mining and its influence on organizational culture

L. Scott, M.A. Goncalves
2021 Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy  
SYNOPSIS Effective communication is a sought-after non-technical skill in the health, safety, and environmental (HSE) function and is fundamental in achieving an organization's safety objectives. While different channels are used to communicate HSE matters, many organizations employ posters, videos, and/ or signs containing images to convey information. Communication through signage and graphical hazard symbols has been regulated in standards, but vast sections of HSE communication are bespoke
more » ... ommunications and exist outside the sphere of standards. Effective HSE communication through images requires an understanding of the organizational culture in which the images will be used, as well as an understanding of the semiotics of the images themselves. Creative interpretation within HSE communication can create situations where the message that was received is not the message that was intended, leading to confusion and misinterpretation. This paper is aimed at elucidating the semiotics of South African HSE visual content. It was found that the indexical mode of images was most preferred in visual communication, and text-only designs the least preferred. Senders and receivers of messages differ in their opinions on the complexity of HSE communication. Keywords: health, safety, and environment, communication, signs, symbols, semiotics.
doi:10.17159/2411-9717/1289/2021 fatcat:ym634xufq5czdc3dkcqgzx5elu