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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Influencing change

In this year’s income survey we asked one open question: Influencing change is a key part of your role. In your career, which change are you most proud of having influenced?

Nearly 250 of the respondents had a crack at this. Here is an edited selection.

Influencing clients to undertake a comprehensive health risk assessment and to invest more time and resources in effectively controlling health risks.

Introducing Safety II concepts and doing work around when things go well. Introducing “just culture” concepts.

Implementation of a reporting culture, including feeding back to the reporter on the actions and outcomes.

Having major input to the implementation of health monitoring and an injury management programme at a large workplace.

Influencing managers more senior than me to change their behaviour and make H&S important in the workplace. Some of them have gone on to create a great culture, with my support. One even got so interested he completed a diploma in H&S.

Proud of seeing people’s attitudes to H&S change. I’ve experienced this at many organisations over 20 years and it still delights me as much now as it always has.

RNZAF’s smoke-free policy.

Shifting clients to adopt the principles of Safety Differently and putting people at the centre of their H&S strategies.

Introducing an understanding of health to the organisation, rather than the previous focus on safety only.

Taking smaller organisations that we support and getting them interested in H&S. Some have now implemented their own H&S systems and are encouraging others to do so.

Implementing a requirement in an industry pre-qualification questionnaire for occupational physician or hygienist involvement in risk assessment, forming the basis for a health monitoring regime.

Changing the H&S committee meetings from an opportunity to whinge about minor issues to a constructive experience in which all reps contribute positively and have a voice.

Lifting the professionalism of management within my current business away from the “she’ll be right” attitude still common in New Zealand.

From “too hard” to “simple” by understanding what really matters.

Offering a fixed-term H&S training role to an admin person and warning them that if they accepted they wouldn’t be able to return to an admin role because it just wouldn’t suit them any more. They had to resign from their permanent job to do my job, with no guarantees of a full time role. Best damn trainer I ever had.

In this role for 16 months and making slow inroads for recognition of workplace exposure to hazardous substances and their long-term effects, including welding fumes and diesel particulates. There is so much emphasis on acute injuries and scant regard for what these exposures to do those approaching retirement.

Transforming the attitudes to H&S so that it is now the highest performing metric in our culture survey.

Alternative vehicles to quad bikes.

Change to critical risk-based site inspections in 2015/16; change to critical risk-based reporting a year later.

Enabling staff and managers to work together to plan and problem-solve as a normal part of our risk management process. This often leads to a win-win situation that puts H&S in a positive light, reduces risk, and encourages frank and open discussion on H&S issues, rather than waiting for an incident to occur.

According to our employees I have become a mentor and role model for them. They trust me and my judgment, and they confide in me about work and personal issues.

Shifting management’s focus from low-impact high-frequency events such as manual handling, to high-impact low-frequency potential events such as mobile plant and vehicles, to allow focused resourcing to critical risks.

The engineering manager was initially resistant to safety as it meant more work for his team. After five years he comes to me with safety improvement ideas.

Greater active involvement from senior management in verification and governance activities, previously seen as a role for HR or the H&S team.

Changing the culture of our factory. We’ve just had two years with no serious harm incidents, compared with six in six months four years ago.

In 12 months we have managers understanding their responsibilities and board members upskilled, so that H&S is becoming more about conversations than compliance.

As a trainer I value those lightbulb moments where learners identify that they can influence H&S in their organisations. As a consultant, I’m delighted when my clients successfully navigate challenging conversations about bullying, or the best solution for a difficult H&S situation.

Getting buy-in from senior leadership to accept that H&S needs to be part of the organisation’s culture. H&S awards are now promoted, H&S reps are now acknowledged and have an annual conference.

Contributed to change management on two construction projects to focus on healthier living and looking after people, resulting in increased productivity and reduced incidents.

Implement “just culture” and ensuring sites are free from serious harm. I can live with scratches, bruises and strains. Zero harm is a fanciful target.

Changing the minds of the SLT to suspend the use of a specific vehicle that posed a risk associated with a mechanical fault. Alternative modes were used for a week while mitigation and additional controls were implemented on the vehicles.

Fostering conversations about critical risks to ensure that we are focused on the right things.

Shifting the focus to leading indicators and including health risks, rather than focusing on lag indicators and ignoring health risks.

Exposed the bullying culture of a government agency, which started talking H&S a wee bit more seriously (though I was exited).

Moved the focus from injury rates to critical risks. Because that’s where it should be.

Started the conversation around mental health, and wellbeing as a whole.

Moving away from a blame culture and putting H&S into a positive perspective.

Moving businesses towards being learning organisations.

Introduced the idea that H&S personnel need to be qualified as well as experienced to lead the H&S function. Before this the organisation used HR and unqualified people because it believed any monkey could do H&S.

Empowering risk owners to take ownership and effectively manage H&S risks at source and to be confident in having the right conversations.

H&S being recognized as a value-add profession rather than a necessary overhead.

Influencing health and lifestyle changes which have enabled early detection of disease.

Took two administrators into H&S careers.

Shifting focus to the 3Rs – risk, relationships, resources.

Organisational culture – shifting from Safety I to Safety II thinking.

Moving to a critical risk culture and adopting Safety II practice. Also influencing MHF regulations and the HSW Act via submissions on the drafts.

How absence is treated: support rather than criticize, and that rehabilitation no matter what the reason is good for workers and the company.

Banning of standard ladders as a first choice for working at heights, pushing for greater safety in design (particularly in-built parapets instead of safety line systems for roof access), challenging WorkSafe on HSNO issues (particularly nonsense SDS and the limitations of the HSNO calculator).

Introduction of asbestos protocols at my work site. There were none when I started here.

Getting men to recognize the importance of taking care of their health.

Introducing and influencing employee participation.

Implementing a high engagement/high performance model, where managers engage with and trust those closest to the work to find solutions to problems.

Thomson Reuters

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