• Peter Bateman
    In the Nov/Dec edition of Safeguard magazine we pose three questions based on stories in the magazine. One of them is this:

    Cormac Russell's book cautions well-meaning experts not to just turn up in a community and try to diagnose or advise on its 'problems'.
    Yet this is what H&S practitioners do all the time.
    How much does his argument resonate with you?

    (Attached is my review of the book)

    Feel free to respond here on the Forum, or privately here via a Survey Monkey form.

    An edited selection of responses will be published in the Jan/Feb edition, but with no names attached. One randomly selected person will receive a prize, namely a copy of the new book The Practice of Learning Teams.
    SG184 Book review (215K)
  • Chris Peace
    This is something I get grumpy about! There is much free-to-access applied research that is easily accessible and that practitioners and professionals (especially) should be referring to. In some cases it might change the"professional judgement" of a practitioner/professional while in others it would strengthen a business case.
    Accessing reliable research comes into what I am teaching at Victoria University and will also be in some of the webinars NZISM has asked me to run in 2021. It should be just part of growing into a professional.
    Peter, no need to make my comments anonymous!
  • Sheri Greenwell
    Yes - I have just been reflecting on this very issue. There is an element of "the chicken vs the egg" here.

    Sometimes the issue arises from a safety practitioner who comes onto the scene with an agenda to establish themselves as an 'expert' with all the answers. They have completed the same regimented safety training and qualifications, which has taught them a linear approach to safety matters, their heads crammed with a set of indoctrinated rules and frameworks but lacking insights into the dynamics behind them or the wisdom to be resilient and responsive.

    It's quite ironic that so many employers place such priority on people holding particular safety qualifications, but then many of the hiring managers have not themselves delved more deeply into understanding their own needs, and because many crave CERTAINTY most of all, they will choose to work with the safety practitioner who comes across as most certain, who may not necessarily know how to tailor their approach or adapt to conditions.

    It also occurs to me that while many safety practitioners bemoan the lack of engagement of managers and workers, feeling that this justifies stepping into the breach themselves to make sure it gets done, are actually as much a part of the problem.

    When we take over the process, we have just allowed those managers to disengage and slip out of what should be their own accountability, so why are they so surprised when the whole H&S system and activities fall back into their own lap?

    How different might things be if safety practitioners were taught more about leadership and coached in more depth of understanding of the purpose and intent of safety requirements, instead of so much focus on being able to memorise and regurgitate key technical information - most of which can easily be found on the internet anyway. What would those conversations sound like if safety practitioners would be coached to enhance emotional intelligence and facilitation skills, to be more genuinely curious and interested in all the dynamics of interacting with others, to identify and address more of their own limiting beliefs, assumptions, values, biases, etc?

    As Einstein is often quoted, "The problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." "The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things and expecting a different result." Other relevant quotes - not sure of all the sources - "For things to change, first I must change." "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

    Let's stretch our thinking. As long as safety practitioners - for whatever reason - keep jumping in and taking over, the same cyclic arguments will continue to frustrate everyone, and people will continue to be injured at work.
  • Tony Walton
    Wow what a cracker piece to end the year on Sheri. The 70/20/10 model is so applicable to this space.
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