The ‘Stack’ model is a standard tool used within the tech sector that allows someone to explain how your service is delivered. It allows a visual and quick way to summarise your way of working. Here’s an example of how the Stack could be structured for a H&S professional:

A Safety Stack template – your services and tools will all look different, so use this as a starting point to build your way of working

Your Safety Stack is unique to you and it also allows you to challenge your way of working or expand its scope into other emerging responsibilities such as, Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) or Enterprise Risk Management (ERM).

The main advantage of a Safety Stack is that it’s scalable, with 3 main use cases for it: used for an individual to understand their role better and set CPD plans; used for a H&S team to set goals; and used for a business to summarise H&S strategy.

Let’s look at how to put a Safety Stack together, and then move into some tips around the 3 use cases 

Building your Stack

Step 1 – List your Core Services

Your starting point is to list the services you or the team are responsible for. Going back to job descriptions, reviewing team terms of references, or speaking with the workforce, will help you understand about positioning in the business. Summarise these duties on the left hand side of the Safety Stack.

Step 2 – List your current Ways of Working

Next, take each service you have added to the Safety Stack and think about how it’s actually delivered. This may be through a tool (such as a template / form); a methodology of working (like industry practices), or via dedicated software. Place these ways of working onto the right hand side of your Safety Stack.

You have now drafted your Safety Stack. However, the next step is to challenge yourself on whether there is anything available in the industry that could do those services even better.

Safety Stacks are seen as an opportunity to assess new providers on the market and to also reach out to your network for recommendations. Safety Stacks can be considered as both engagement tools, driving continuous improvement, and for individual or team development. Let’s review the 3 use cases for Safety Stacks

Safety Stack as an Individual 

Individual Safety Stacks allow you to reflect on your way of working and set CPD plans. The exercise is similar to SWOT analysis; you highlight your current strengths, and you challenge what weaknesses to act upon or what opportunities to explore further.

For those who are a coach / mentor, Safety Stacks are helpful to set plans with mentees whilst sharing your own to make comparisons. It’s a chance to learn and grow yourself, learning how a mentee tackles their development. You may discover tools along the way you have not seen before or considered.

Safety Stack as a Team 

Team Safety Stacks help drive inspirational leadership. As a group, you can agree on your core deliverables and challenge these ways of working to drive continuous improvement. Each group member can decide which part of the Stack they would like to focus on and set KPIs to take accountability for.

Team Safety Stacks can be an easy and visual way for goal setting and allows the Safety Stack to become a conversational tool in team meetings to review progress, agree next steps and reflect on how the team has improved over time.

Safety Stack as a Business H&S Strategy

Safety Stacks for strategic purposes are useful as the tool condenses lots of data onto  an understandable model, so it is well received when presented in board meetings. It’s a chance to summarise current performance and set ambitions of where you would like the strategy to progress.

Besides being useful in plan setting, it makes future board meetings easier, using it as an engagement tool for further buy-in and to refine strategic objectives. This will help your management reviews for those managing ISO standards and will qualify your own value in the process.

Final Note – Stacking the odds

The Safety Stack is simple and effective, presenting a holistic view of service and an opportunity to look at service improvement. The Stack lastly adds another layer of help by encouraging other departments to make their own Stacks, creating consistent and aspirational leadership.

So, what’s in your Safety Stack?

To be open and transparent, this is my Safety Stack

Written by Rob Bullen CFIOSH, HandsHQ

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.