How best to boost H&S generalist numbers?
In the Jan/Feb edition of Safeguard we pose three questions based on stories in the magazine. One of them is this:
In 2019, HASANZ estimated that 2100 more H&S generalists would be required in New Zealand by 2029. That's only five years away. What's the best way to achieve this goal?
Feel free to respond here on the Forum, or privately
via a Survey Monkey form.
An edited selection of responses will be published in the March/April edition, but with no names attached. One randomly selected person will receive a prize, namely a copy of the book
Sacrificing Safety – Lessons for Chief Executives
, by Andrew Hopkins.
If you are referring to Health and Safety Consultants as Generalists then what we have noticed is often times they come up through the ranks within an organisation and then decide to branch out on their own as a consultant/generalist. At that time many contact us regarding the NZ Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety Management (level 6) qualification, as it is a prerequisite for acceptance to HASANZ or as an NZISM professional. What we find often is they have not received or gone through any professional development with the organisations they previously held health and safety roles with. Why I am not sure, but it would suggest a lot of organisations do not have good professional development plans in place for the staff, particularly at management and leadership levels. Perhaps they are comfortable with the knowledge and experience the person possesses and do not wish to support them into a suitable qualification? Too many times we have people approaching us about qualifications and courses AFTER they have taken on a role, and unfortunately this is often not driven by the business but by the individual.
The term ongoing training appears in many ads, which supports what Joe is saying..
I believe this needs to be a multi-facetted approach over the medium to long term, as there is no one size fits all "silver bullet" here. I also do not believe that remuneration is a barrier to entry. It is now fairly easy for a person with even just a couple of years’ experience to gain a position playing in excess of 100k, and in fact if you ask me, there needs to be a correction downward in this respect.
A dedicated campaign to raise the profile of the industry: and break down the ingrained view the HS professionals are there as tick-box clipboard warriors there to make life harder for workers. I am a true believer that our industry has a significant image problem.
A dedicated drive to actively recruit you and talented professionals both from school / uni and within our industries.
A pathway to professional development: a topic for another post entirely. (yes i am aware there are some that exist, but they are fragmented and while all having the same overall goal how and which to choose can be unclear and daunting)
Recognition that even if we start tomorrow, 2100 professionals is a tall ask.
I attach the PowerPoints from a webinar I delivered for NZISM called "A bird with two wings: Integrating your business approaches to H&S and E&S". See
- the recording is in the members-only section of the NZISM website. While this content was in no way intended to be "training" per se, the information may be useful as part of some "generalist" training.
NZISM Webinar on HandS and EandS Clare Feeney 2020 08 v5 lo res
Ive been doing this for over 20 years and frankly find the term “generalist” objectionable.
If you want to attract new people to the profession perhaps more considerate language may make them appreciate the importance of the role they play.
Alternatively I’m just a grumpy old white man
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