In his first article of the series, I, Andrew Sharman, look at the traditional of New Year’s resolutions. According to research from Harvard University, with less than 10% of us sticking to them, I look at how to plan for safety resolutions for the year ahead to improve the chance of success.
In the second blog for The New Rules of Safety, I explain how a chance meeting on an aeroplane led to a reflection of the culture at NASA when the challenger exploded 30 years ago, and where a culture of risk wasn’t fully understood by the leaders.
The teacher helpfully adds that “most of the children have the same right now”. There’s something ‘going around’. But what if emotions are contagious too?
During our safety leadership workshops I’m often asked “What are the key traits or behaviours of a great safety leader?” No matter where I am around the world, the question always pops up from both operational leaders and H&S practitioners, apparently keen to improve. My reply tends to based on a list of attributes of people I deem to be great leaders, which have become noticeable over a period of time.
During a visit to London last week I took my place on the underground train next to a most elegantly attired businessman: Savile Row suit, smart Church’s black loafers, Liberty tie, safety pin on the lapel of his jacket. Wait, what was that? Yes, a safety pin. Right there, on his left lapel, in the place where a flower might go if he were on the way to a wedding, or where a pin-badge showing his alumni or professional association would proudly be. A safety pin – a regular old thing from the domestic sewing basket. Curious?
I have a handy portable digital luggage scale with which I check my hold bag before heading to the airport – it had shown me 18.8kg, but the check in clerk advised it was over 21kg. What happened?
Traditionally, when it comes to workplace safety, we focus on the what – the processes, systems and activities, the audits, investigations and inspections, the reviews, checks and balances.
Safety departments load up on action lists as they devise strategic plans that move them forward in their relentless pursuit of zero accidents.
Many of us will have started the new year with a bang. In December 2016 the British Fireworks Association advised that sales of ‘New Year’s Fireworks’ had increased to record levels. A spokesperson from the British Pyrotechnists Association anticipated that New Year’s Eve displays would “reach new heights”. Writing this dispatch from San Francisco I can confirm that Stateside, sunny Californian skies were transformed at night-time into sparkling disco mirror balls with members of both the American Pyrotechnics Association and the National Fireworks Association gleefully suggesting that fireworks “make the new year celebrations magnificent”. But not so in Rome…
As I drove to the airport recently a sea of red tail lights flooded my view. The traffic jammed. I noticed that the carriageway in the opposite direction had begun to slow too.
After all, Nairobi is famous for being the only city on our planet that has a game reserve actually within the city limits.
Juxtaposing the similarities and differences of global stereotypes. I’ve spent the last 4 weeks in 4 different countries. But this isn’t a tale of the woes of long-haul travel, nor the pains of jetlag. It’s all about cultural congruence.
Anyone who has ever visited Germany, Africa, Russia or China will certainly have their own souvenirs of the experience – each country is quite unique – and often easily stereotyped. Is every culture really different? Or are there some common aspects?
On a Friday afternoon, sitting under a tree on the banks of Lake Geneva, eating Italian ice-cream with a German colleague something extraordinary happened. On the other side of the road, standing precariously on the top of a pile of tree branches heaped onto the back of a small truck, was a man with a petrol-driven chainsaw in his hand. It was clear that we were witnessing an accident in the making. And then it happened…
People are at the heart of safety culture excellence, not machines. Over the last few years Tesla, makers of some very cool electric vehicles, has struggled with safety.
Between 2013 and 2016 Tesla’s accidents rates have been some 30% more than industry average, according to Worksafe – and paramedics arrived at their Californian plant more than 100 times between May 2014 and May 2017.
Every day for the last couple of months my Inbox has been bombarded with the ‘latest updates’ from safety journals and online forums, on receipt of each I have felt a little more dejected.
It’s been an interesting few days. It all started with the IOSH annual conference, then to participate in a webinar for Barbour with my friend and co-author Dame Judith Hackitt, and finally to teach at an Executive Business School near Paris.
All week one thing has been sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb. How we talk about ‘health and safety’.
In my books and my articles I’ve frequently pushed for us to be more forward-focused in safety. Rather than getting caught up in trying to trying to prevent accidents. I’ve argued that an inputs-driven approach to creating safety is vital.
Over dinner this evening with a client in Louisiana, USA, my companion reminded me of the importance of learning from the past and his reciting of various quotations recalled my own passion for historical wisdom.
Disrupt the status quo and do better things. ‘Up to 80% of work roles as we currently know them will vanish in the next two years. Whilst the health and safety profession has grown rapidly over the last 30 years, it is not immune to change’.
In August 2014 I wrote an article for SHP magazine (‘To boldly go’) which identified a series of future trends with regard to workplace safety. The article was based on research I had conducted with multinational organizations around the globe.
January is a time where we look back and see how well our plans have come to fruition and start to strategize for the next year ahead. What will we do? What can we achieve? What are our new targets?
Sophisticated frameworks, complex charts, and strategic performance indicators are all created to help leaders and organisations get closer to safety excellence. But the truth is that your strategy fails or succeeds on how leaders – at every level in the company – integrate with the people across the organisation.
How can you, as an OSH practitioner be more strategic as a leader? You can start by asking yourself – and your team or OSH department – the five questions in this article.
They’ll leverage off each other and help you build a solid strategic approach to workplace OSH and increase your chances of success as an practitioner, leader and as a team.
“What do we need to work on today?”, “Why are we working on this now?”, “How does what I’m working on align with the big picture?”, “What does success look like?” and “What else?”.
Missed the show? Catch up here...