Paul's presentation of his experiences was very moving, and inspirational. I believe him being here to talk through and being able to ask questions first hand was great.
Most of us know the story of the great Anglo-Saxon King Cnut sitting in a chair on the sea shore trying to stop the tide rising passed his chair, but it still came in getting his shoes and legs wet. So, why has this got anything to do with modern day health and safety?
The answer is loads, as the health and safety advisor is like King Cnut, each day they go to the sea shore and try and command the rising tide to stop and go back. And this is where most fail because they command the tide to go back, they don't work with the tide.
The tide can be seen as the workers out on site, they come in each day and go out again. Sometimes they are whipped up by poor morale, commercial & peer pressure and what is happening at home. So things become unpredictable and dangerous as minds are not where they should be.
The role of the health and safety advisor is changing, it's not about pointing the finger and shouting the regulations, its now about working with and listening to the people out on site to clear the issues. The health and safety advisor needs to use the people as the SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) they are the ones who will help guide a business to a healthier and safer culture.
You can't stop the tide, but you can work with it. If only King Cnut had a local tide table.
As we come to the end of the year, we normally reflect on the year gone past and start to look forward to the new year ahead.
Do we really ask the questions that matter, to help us grow from what has happened over the past 52 weeks and what do we want for the next 52 coming up.
This leads us to the working environment do we really ask the important questions to enhance a culture, it is not about changing cultures, but enhancement of the one we already have. Building on the good things that already exist. You cannot change it as the culture has been allowed to grow and mature over time.
We are getting there with improving cultures and with that health and safety, along with the environmental impact to the outside world.
There has to this point been 3 ages:
The first age was about replacements, if a tool broke we replaced it, just like the men, women and child maimed or killed in the workplace.
The second age was about engineering things out, especially the installing of guards to stop contact with moving parts. (reactive to issues)
The third age and we are still there is about telling and informing employees what they can or cannot do. (passive active to issues)
We need to move into the forth age of interaction asking the employee what is needed and being proactive about things getting out there and being amongst the action. Finding out the everyday issues and challenges faced to get the job done to the highest standards.
This is where we can learn a lot from sport, especially from team games, take any football team from the Premier League or Football League, they train every day to get the best out of themselves. Managers and coaches are amongst the players talking, coaching and being a mentor to them.
How many organisations are like what I just described? Not, many because there has been this invisible drawbridge pulled up to stop the interaction, as managers do the paperwork, supervisors crack the whip and the workers get things done and out the door.
So, I ask you where is your organisation?
With C and D the safety department is very much the envoy going around all the time trying to keep channels of communication open, to stop wars erupting all over the place.
So, how do you move from C and D take others with you to a department, talk about the issues firstly that they face and once the common bonds are established, move to what works well and the standards they expect in each department. It is not an overnight thing it takes months, if not years, but you got to keep plugging away.
Successful teams don't become champions straightaway, it takes years of hard work to become number one. So, to get the organisation to one household will take time, and the way to achieve this is one step at a time and be proactive and ask the why and how questions and get to learn the jobs that people do, and invite them to follow you around learning what to do.
The two questions that need to be asked to kick the whole process off is:
There is a third question that needs to be asked and it involves everybody in the organisation. How are we (the department/organisation) going to achieve better and higher?
I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and Successful 2016