IOSH 2016 Conference preview

We interview two more speakers from the institution’s June gathering. 

IOSH 2016 Conference Preview
Image credit: © iStockphoto/rihardzz

Jonathan Pickering, global environment, health and safety leader, General Electric

What will you be speaking about at IOSH 2016?

I will be speaking about my favourite topic: building successful cultures and approaches to investigations. I will reflect on over 23 years’ experience of conducting investigations, first in the Health and Safety Executive and then as a consultant advising managers and organisations on accident and incident investigation techniques and helping them move forward. 

I will share what I have learned about what works well to better influence investigations in the workplace. It will be a bit of a reality check on our expectations for investigations. 

How will this assist delegates in their working lives?

This talk is suited to those new to the profession, as well as experienced professionals conducting training in investigations. It will be an insight into the latest thinking in a large global corporate organisation.

There will be a lot of “top tips” which I have picked up over the past two decades working in this field, but I hope delegates go away and apply a couple of approaches to suit their needs. I also hope to offer clarity on investigation fundamentals and limitations that can help make a difference in the workplace.

How can OSH professionals bring about a positive culture?

Managing investigations is a significant part of the OSH professional’s role. It can set the tone and culture of an organisation. How an organisation responds when things go wrong is an important cultural indicator and a test of leadership.

OSH professionals should look critically at their own investigation processes and how events are reported within their organisations. What tone and culture do they portray? Looking critically at the methods of collecting information for the investigation is probably more important than the analysis phase and the actions that are developed.

The analysis aspect and use of tools seem to get all of the attention. It is worth noting that very few employees get involved in the analysis of the investigation or the final action plan, but many will be involved in the early stages of information collection and will be influenced by the way this is handled. So this is a good place to start to affect culture in a positive way, but it is a challenge.

Kirstin Ferguson, professional company director and founder, Orbitas Group

What will you be speaking about at IOSH 2016?

I will be using my experience as a company director, as well as my PhD research, to focus on safety governance and leadership. In particular, I will be discussing what this means for OSH professionals who seek to influence their senior executive teams and boards to engage in safety and health issues.

I am looking forward to talking with delegates about what the frequently-used term “safety governance” means and how they can identify their organisation’s level of safety governance maturity. Understanding the maturity level will help an OSH professional tailor their efforts and help ensure they are as effective as possible.

I will also be discussing ways delegates can assist their senior executive teams and boards to become engaged in OSH, beyond merely focusing on compliance, through understanding safety leadership behaviour for these senior officers.

Why should delegates attend your presentation?

I will be offering practical, common-sense tools. Delegates will hopefully find that my presentation will assist them to assess the safety governance maturity of their own organisations. 

This will help them establish whether their efforts to influence OSH change with their senior executive teams and boards are likely to be effective. Lastly, as a company director myself, I will speak from experience with some practical ideas of how OSH can best influence and engage boards.

Why should OSH professionals strive for safety beyond compliance?

As most OSH professionals would already know, merely complying with legislation is no guarantee that you will keep your employees safe. Of course it is important and the bare minimum standard any organisation should ensure it meets.

But legal compliance is not what drives leading OSH-focused organisations’ safety visions. True safety comes from strong safety governance frameworks which are supported by high levels of safety leadership at all levels of the business, including boards. 

Compliance is only part of the puzzle, not the  solution.

How can safety professionals influence the boardroom to improve safety performance?

In my presentation I will suggest ways that OSH professionals can design board reporting, present information in meetings and more generally give value to their boards. 

Adopting some of these ideas will help boards understand that their OSH professionals can (and should) be used to add value much more broadly than just reporting on incidents, audits and compliance.



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