Reviews
Thomas D. Schneid, CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group

Creative safety solutions

I believe that training for safety advisers in the UK is world class in its legal, technical and organisational aspects – but it often falls short in areas such as influencing, persuading and negotiating. These skills are vital to getting things done, so they should figure just as strongly in training, and indeed books, aimed at helping us keep organisations safe. 

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This book from the US is therefore a breath of fresh air, and it contains lots of practical tips that will help, especially the less experienced health and safety adviser. Creativity is an attribute few would naturally associate with us health and safety professionals, yet this book lives up to its title by offering many refreshingly new ideas for how safety programmes, and those of us who are responsible for them, can work more effectively.

This is the book’s second edition and the publishers say there are 13 new chapter headings, including Does Happy = Safe?, Combating Risk with Innovation and Injecting Creativity into Training Activities. Since there are just over 30 chapters in all, this suggests the content has almost doubled since the first edition.

Here you’ll find gems such as the “ten commandments” for the safety and loss prevention professional, how to make a business case for health and safety (including a worked example) and how to be a canny buyer of goods and services. It’s in an essay format, and it would be painless to read it cover to cover, just by spending ten minutes reading one chapter per day. There’s lots of good sense here on how to be an effective influencer, for example by recognising the motivation of the group you’re trying to persuade and by unlocking employees’ creativity.

For the UK reader though, it does have a drawback: the focus is exclusively on the US. The currency is the dollar, the enforcing authority is OSHA, and the disability legislation quoted is the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990. As a result, unless you work for a US company, or have responsibility for North American operations, much of the text will not apply.

Also, one of the recommendations here is for practitioners to make best use of information that’s freely available. Good point, so why include the OSHA white paper Injury and illness prevention programs in full instead of just mentioning it? It takes up 20 pages (almost a tenth of the whole book) and you can download it free as a pdf document from the OSHA website (www.osha.gov).

I liked it though. Schneid is a constant optimist, always looking out for ways to make his workplace a safer and happier place. His enthusiasm and commitment can’t fail to rub off on the reader; they did on me.

CRC Press/Taylor and Francis Group | £57.99 hardback, £40.59 ebook

 

Paul Smith’s career spans enforcement, consultancy and the power industry. A former Health and Safety Executive inspector, he’s now a specialist writer on safety and health topics.

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