Editor, UBM

October 12, 2015

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Interview: Safety Network live, what to expect

In October, 3M will be hosting the Safety Network live, a day of fantastic events including mock trials, fit-testing sessions and talks from experts. They have also launched the SafeTea break campaign encouraging health and safety managers to sit down with workers and get them talking about issues less explored. Roz Sanderson, SHP online digital editor spoke to Kim Brewer, marketing manager for 3M about the Safety Network live and the SafeTea break campaign.

Can you explain a bit about the SafeTea break campaign and how companies can get involved?

SafeTea break was designed to bring the health message to life. We took the humble tea break and turned it into an engagement tool. The heart of 3M is about the way we innovate – not just through products but through communication as well. We felt that combining health communication with tea and biscuits was a really nice innovation.

It came about through a couple of market trends. Our research has shown us that complacency about hazards is one of the biggest negative attitudes towards PPE and because health risks are often less visible it’s often really hard to overcome that complacency among the workforce.

It’s all about encouraging worker involvement and trying to dispel the myth that health and safety is just the remit of the health and safety manager. It’s really about engaging the workforce, and create a sense of ownership around health and taking those topics very seriously.

To make it really rounded we teamed up with Safety Groups UK and centred the content around their health risk at work initiative. In the kit there are choreographed toolbox talks, open questions designed to foster engagement and get workers talking about health and long-latency occupational diseases, and helping to increase the understanding of risks and consequences of non-compliance.

It gives the health and safety manager something practical to use. The cards in the kit help managers to organise the SafeTea break including handling objections, providing case studies, ideas for icebreakers, and an action plan piece.  It’s very simple and a practical way to get workers involved and thinking about health risks at work.

Companies can download the kit from 3m.co.uk/safetea.

Organisations can download the kit, and there’s also additional reading and lots of insight and information to help people gain a better understanding of topics.

We’re asking people to upload their experiences to the 3M Safety Network (3M.co.uk/safetynetwork) as we created the community with the intention of sharing best practice  we’ve so far had about 1,000 people taking part in the campaign.

We’re then going to give some donations to Safety Groups UK as part of our partnership. So far, our donation total is at £3,250 and we’re on course to hit the £5,000 mark.

Can you tell me about the Safety Network event taking place at 3M in October and what people can expect from it?

The reason we’ve done this is that 3M is really known for innovation and technical leadership in the market. We’ve always been really passionate about sharing our expertise and helping health and safety managers make informed decisions. We’ve always been an authority in that and deliver credible and authoritative events.

Our online community, Safety Network, is an extension of that, to encourage people to share and set up a thriving community. This is something we set up because with technology advancing we need to make sure people can access information when and where they were able to.  However, we still think there is a place for live events, so we decided to bring our online community off-line for the day & host a range of interactive & informative seminars & workshops.

We have 1,800 people registered on the Safety Network community and this live event is a great opportunity to invite people to come and talk to us directly.

We’ve got all kinds of great things going on on the day, with representatives from Pinsent Masons coming in to do a mock trial, we have the 2 Macs coming – they do safety drama, it’s a really innovative way of presenting about health and safety.

We’ve got some 3M areas from fit testing, a case study from Martin Harvey and Tony Blythe, who are part of our own health & safety team and who will be doing a talk about the behavioural safety programmes they’ve successfully implemented in our Aycliffe & Loughborough sites.

Why is the Safety Network and Safe Tea Break campaign important for health and safety professionals?

The role of a health and safety manager is often a difficult line to tread making sure safety protocols are being followed and everyone is safe, but also hitting critical commercial targets. Particularly in the areas we talk about in health, because long term health issues are less visible and there’s a real complacency among workers, the lack of immediate effect is very challenging.

Safety practitioners have a very tough job on their hands, to make sure workers are doing the right thing and impacting the business in the right way, so that’s communication challenge we directly try to tackle with the Safe Tea break, really give the practitioners a practical, simple and easy to use way of talking to their workers and highlighting the health message, obviously with the wonderful added incentive of tea and biscuits!

The Safety Network is about educating the market, as that can really help to protect every worker and help practitioners to make informed decision, with practical ways to support that.

We know time is tight, resources are stretched, health and safety is under the cosh so we feel our job is to make those decisions a little easier, quicker and simpler.

Safety network was designed to help health and safety managers connect with each other, and in a live environment that connection’s even better. The options we’ve got are really good so you can tailor make your agenda according to what suits you.

Some of the agenda items are very innovative – 2 Macs and the mock trial are really innovative, and people can use the event to collect CPD points as well.

What is 3M hoping to see come out of this campaign?

These campaigns are really designed around supporting our market –leading position and demonstrating the principles on which 3M Personal Safety is built. Health and safety is more than just products and compliance, it’s about culture and philosophy.

We striving to make products that people actually want to wear as well as just doing their job. We know there’s more than just products, we’ve always been really good at making sure we cover all the extra layers as well.

We’re offering a more holistic view of health and safety. Excellence in health and safety is a powerful business tool and can be used to improve brand perception in the market. 3M is more than just a manufacturer, it’s this positioning that really sets us about and underpins the philosophy.

John Cairns, chairman of Safety Groups UK said of the SafeTea campaign: “[It] builds on the major focus of SGUK’s “Health Risks at Work – Do you know yours?” initiative and provides an innovative and refreshing way of communicating the occupational health message.

“Local safety groups form part of the national SGUK network and provide friendly information, advice and support to their local workforces on health and safety related issues. Manned by volunteers, all donations made to local safety groups as part of the SafeTea campaign are of great assistance in the SGUK’s mission of promoting health and safety nationwide.”

Kim 3MHaving worked for 3M for over 12 years, Kim Brewer joined the Personal Safety team as Marketing Manager in 2013. With a MSc in Strategic Marketing Leadership from the Henley Management College and a Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Kim is focused on delivering tailored marketing activities to engage and support Health and Safety Professionals.

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