Have you ever experienced a dogmatic Safety Officer in your workplace? I would ‘hazard’ a guess that most of us have.
How did they make you feel? Like you wanted to listen to what they had to say or did you just feel inexplicably frustrated by them?
The old way of doing things seemed to me to be very authoritarian and top heavy, but the workplace safety industry has undergone quite a transformation in recent years. Unfortunately a lot of the old perceptions still exist, due to past experiences.
If you break it down to its simplest terms, work, health and safety (WHS) is about finding the best way to undertake a task, with the least amount of risk.
It’s also been such a welcome change in the last decade to see that WHS embraces all elements of the worker, not just the physical. So these days we look also look at things such as stress and mental wellbeing, in order to reduce the risk of all activities that affect the health and safety of workers.
And at the end of the day it comes back to the aim that everyone should be able to come home safety from work.
The truth of the matter is that technology has really assisted the industry to streamline processes and made life easier for workers, rather than harder. That’s not to say that it’s perfect in every workplace, there is always work to do and ways to improve!
With all this change occurring I love getting to see the innovative ways my clients promote and undertake WHS in their workplaces. Many of them really go the extra distance to find ways to connect with their workers to have everyone embrace work, health and safety as part of their daily work.
Safety Month is recognised during October and I think it’s a great time for organisations to take stock of their approach to WHS and whether they are inspiring their workers, or frustrating them.
The other thing to remember is that nominations are open for the inaugural Hunter Safety Awards, a chance to get recognition for you workplace if you are already doing something innovative in the WHS space.
Whilst we have shifted the approach and focus of WHS in recent years, as individuals it’s important to also work towards shifting our own perceptions and expectations when it comes our attitude towards health and safety.