From the archive: Just so you know, this article is more than 3 years old.
Negative headlines, fines, problems and inspections all focus on what is wrong or what people can't do. These begin to follow us around like a negatively-charged dark cloud. Perhaps we should reflect on our own behaviour because our words and actions can have a profound effect.
Positivity is infectious; it's motivating, engaging and it makes people feel better about themselves. Negativity makes people switch off and turn away. Let's encourage what people can do rather than say what they can't.
Negative words creep into language subconsciously. Contrast "don't forget to-¦" with "remember to...", or "I mustn't be late" with "it's important I'm on time". Avoid "I'm busy now but might be able to fit you in next week", and instead try "let's get together next week when I can give you my full attention". Problems are recast as challenges; it's a subtle change but it creates a different outlook.
Does your voicemail message say you "can't take a call"? Remove the negative words -- but even better, forward your number to a colleague who can respond; it's great customer service too.
Incident data contains important information to identify priorities and trends. But this is information about what has gone wrong.
Organisations that focus purely on reducing incidents find that people stop reporting them. So challenge everyone to report more, but measure reductions in severity.
Nothing can be more negative than creating lists of ideas or things to do without considering how to achieve them
Use data to create initiatives or programmes looking at what individuals can do rather than what they can't. Use scoring systems and key performance indicators positively. Name those who do well. Tell the directors, take pictures, talk about it on social media, and say "well done". At the end of the year, have an awards ceremony. Make a fuss of those doing well; reward success.
Focus on strengths and positive practice in reports, especially executive summaries.
I was recently on site with a team facing some OSH challenges. Since our previous meeting they had made progress as a result of tackling group-level arrangements. But things were still far from perfect. I focused on efforts made to challenge the norm rather than what was left to do. The mood instantly lifted and I know that when I go back the rest will have been done.
I wonder whether we rush in to take control too often. Perhaps we should let go more. Sometimes people will take responsibility only when we release ours. If we do a great job we are needed less over time and we should embrace this rather than fear it.
It's easy to come up with great ideas and say we can do things when there's a limit to the working week. Nothing can be more negative than creating lists of ideas or things to do without considering how to achieve them. So be honest and realistic. Prioritise and take your time. Pressure is positive, stress is not.
Be positive about yourself, those around you and what you do. Smile more. Every single success has contributed to the health and wellbeing of the people around you. Keep going, you're doing a fantastic job!
They pointed out their administrations had been responsible for enacting Britain’s first UK safety and health statute: the Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1902. They also claimed credit for successive factories acts and for drafting the Health and Safety at Work Act in the early 1970s – though it was passed into law by a Labour government.
One of the major lessons that should have been absorbed from the Aberfan disaster 50 years ago (see p 17) had to be restated forcefully in Lord Cullen’s report on the Piper Alpha drilling rig explosion and fire which took 167 lives. That lesson was that when a regulator gets too close to the industry it polices there is a high risk that its regulation becomes slack.
They revealed there was no decline in domestic spending in the British economy after the vote to leave the European Union in June. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has now rowed back slightly on its pessimism about the initial impact of the Brexit decision, upgrading its UK growth forecast to 1.8% for 2016. Share prices are buoyant and the pound’s post-referendum slide against the dollar has stopped. So far, so good; those who predicted an immediate economic tumble after the referendum have been wrongfooted.
In recent years, UK governments have questioned the role of OSH legislation, the safety and health culture that has developed since the Health and Safety at Work Act and, of course, the work of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Although the rearguard action mounted by practitioners’ bodies to argue the value of improvements in safety performance has been largely successful, it has had an unintended consequence of uniting the whole health and safety “community” as HSE supporters, almost as flag wavers from the sidelines.
Many of the drivers and some of the teams are lobbying for a new device developed by Mercedes, named the “halo”, to be fitted over the front of car cockpits. The halo is designed to shield drivers from pieces of flying debris, but opinions are divided; Hamilton was quoted as saying it should be optional and that he prefers to take the risk.There is a contrast between apparent personal freedoms being curtailed “because of health and safety” and a society in which people generally feel so safe that they take it for granted and want redress when harm arises.
It’s certainly not because it is a rarefied classification. There was a time when profession was reserved for more obviously learned occupations such as teaching and law. But in the past 50 years it has been extended to encompass those in business support functions including human resources and information technology, whose roles are certainly no more significant than those controlling occupational risk.