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.
Over the last 4 years, I have travelled to Buffalo, New York and even Adu Dhabi in the UAE, plus all around the UK talking about how a group of workers and managers (including myself) missed the signs that we were heading for disaster and the after effects.
It has been brilliant meeting some fantastic people and seeing how things are made on site visits, and I am not knocking this because at some level there has been an impact in getting people to work and live that little bit more safely and healthy. This is where the shooting star part comes in, as with some people I must come in as a meteorite (shooting star) in the night’s sky. I show up as a bright streak across the work site sky and then disappear over the horizon.
Yes, while I am visible it makes an impact and people think about their working conditions. What they should change or wish they could change, but then they go back to work and most is forgotten because reality kicks in because they believe it will not happen to them or their pressure to the delivery of the job takes over, does management (senior/middle) really want it.
Actually, I am not just describing myself, but trainers across the country. The impact is there (but, how long and/or deep is that impact on delegates?). Only by asking individuals will we know. What it does mean is asking them (learner/delegate) not just after the course, but in the future (months later).
What is required (my opinion) is that repeated presence where regular visits are set up with people to remind them the importance of health and safety, plus the significance of their behaviour on keeping the standards high in achieving the organisation’s health and safety targets.
It is a bit like a comet, it circles the sun every 50 years or so and when it gets so far from the sun it starts to leave a trail across the night sky. This trail stays in the night sky for some time, before it disappears from sight, but not before it has left a deep impression on the memory (I can still remember seeing Halley’s Comet as a 14 year old in 1986).
Therefore, with this in mind the trainer needs to become an envoy to the organisation. For me it would start with my talks and then split the slides up into team clusters where Q&A sessions are held in their working environment to discuss at a deeper level to the how and why things are done around here.
A fresh eyes approach can be employed (good and bad situations and behaviours) and reported to the safety committee at their meetings. As well as promoting health and safety standards internally within the organisation alongside the health and safety department.
The envoy promotes the organisation at conferences and how having an external agent increases the standards because they bring new thinking to the organisation and increases the communication about health and safety practices and behaviour, as they are an independent agent.
The envoy is not the person that drives the enhancement in a safer and healthier culture; they are an agent in helping that enhancement in culture because to get to a higher safer healthier standard the drive has to come from the people within any organisation to want to grow.
‘I have always viewed my role as a sort of ambassador or bridge between groups to help provide a dialog’. - Joichi Ito