Manage to obtain (something) by using persuasion or guile. {source – Oxford living dictionary}

A term many of us have heard over the years but do we ever question how much of this is carried out in our every day working life? Sometimes it is hard to challenge what we do, it’s hard to work in the world of SHE, sometimes we don’t feel appreciated, and we may question why we bother? But, do we find ourselves in a world where we end up blagging it?

Many safety professionals will have seen the eyes rolled up scenario from people who clearly don’t want to listen, maybe they’re not bothered or maybe, just maybe, their enthusiasm for doing the right thing has over the years demised to the point that they question the credibility of what the SHE professional is trying to achieve.

It’s hard to reflect to see if we personally ever blag it in our professional world but we need to if we really want to succeed and make the SHE agenda something that our business leaders really acknowledge as being pivotal to business success.

We need to address a number of questions?

  • Why do we sometimes become the butt of jokes?
  • Why have we been referred to as the “fun police”?
  • How many times do we say “you can’t do that”?
  • How often do we question if the accident stats board is a true reflection of our SHE standards?
  • Do we know what our directors and senior managers really want from us?
  • Do we know what we want to achieve ourselves?
  • Has SHE and insurance requirements got mixed up?
  • Has SHE and commercial requirements got mixed up?
  • How important is the signature, has it become the most important thing?
  • Has our auditing process become a paperwork game that can mislead?

Top Tip One

Let’s start using the language of enablers as opposed to being seen by some quarters as the disablers, lets make it clear we are here to support our businesses to succeed in a safe and sustainable way, not to be seen as slowing it down.

Top Tip Two

Think about how we display our accident statistics, do we have a nice public facing board that shows everybody the good news, but what about when it reverts back to zero? Do we really want to portray that as a message of bad news? The danger is that we drive the reporting underground. Why not ask our employees how they would like to see out statistics being used, let’s not do it the way we always have, let’s do it differently!

Top Tip Three

What do our senior managers and directors really want from us? We think we know but when was the last time we asked the question? Give them the opportunity to have the conversation and talk to us about it, maybe its time to ask them again!

Top Tip Four

Let’s separate the insurance requirements from the health and safety requirements. Do I really need a risk assessment and safe system of work for transporting hot drinks from vending machine to canteen table? Let’s make sure we don’t go into “over-reactive” mode.

Top Tip Five

Ask about what our audits actually achieve, critically analyse if it is about auditing the signatures and the check sheets or is it really an accurate reflection on our standards. Set the right standards to start off with so as everybody is clear and let’s audit the standards as opposed to sometimes having audits that are expectations, for example, what does good housekeeping look like? expectation or standard?

Written by Gerard Hand, Past President IOSH, Director – GPH Safety for The SHE Show North East, 5th March 2019, Newcastle United Football Club.

Please note, the views expressed by the original article author are theirs alone and do not necessarily represent those of Washingtondowling Associates Ltd or The SHE Show and therefore we take no responsibility for the content or accuracy of this post.