July 23, 2018 at 6:31 PM #4339
A good number of safety professionals regardless of experience or career level have wrong approaches to safety. With the aid of my experience and research i created four categories for this professionals;
THE OVERLY MORAL PROFESSIONAL – Many safety professionals fall in this category, these are the professionals that believe that safety should be the number 1 priority of a business, The problem with this is that;The only priority of a business is to make money or in the case of not for profit organisations to promote their services, and the safety departments main aim is to provide safe means for the organisation to make money or deliver services with as little resources (Time, money and personnel) as reasonably possible.
This set of professionals unrealistically put themselves on a moral high horse, with the assumption that they are morally superior to other professions (human resources, productions management, Accountants etc) because they `supposedly’ care more about the employees as opposed to production and finance, forgetting that thier Risk analysis and management involve equating peoples life to ridiculous amounts of money.
“Adopting the high moral ground in safety has its place but we must remember safety has to be integrated with the other factors in running a business”.
THE OVER ENFORCERS-This category of safety professionals view themselves as law enforcers, they use the policing approach towards safety I.e they are more concerned about catching employees in unsafe act and dishing out disciplinary actions than there are about actually giving out safety tranings,informations and consulting the workforce.
They also believe that compliance with safety regulations is the solution to all safety problems.
THEORETICAL PROFESSIONALS (PAPER JUNKY): I’m sure most of us are familiar with this category of safety professionals, they are the ones that make every safety document appear like you are doing Nebosh diploma over again. I know what you are thinking,not so bad right?
Well imagine you are not a safety professional and you are handed a 20 pages Permit to work document. Yeah! not so good now right?
Paper work should be concise, There is no point in having excessive paper work that looks like hard work to read.
They also end up Spending too much time in the office instead of the field where the action is happening. You have to spend a lot of time on site to gain required knowledge and build the relationships.
TECHNICAL PROFESSIONAL: This category of safety professional Rely on occupational health and safety technical skills alone. But Effective OHS people need many skills over and above the technical skills, e.g. Communications, training, interpersonal, leadership, project management, learning, change management etc
Looking at the above mentioned categories of safety professionals the obvious question then becomes how do you know/identify an all round competent safety professional?
Well first a competent safety professional should know that though the above categories are independently weak, when you put them together there fit like different pieces in a puzzle. Secondly Watch out for my next article as i will be writing about the major characteristics of a safety professional and how there can be assessed.
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