Risk drives Safety but more so the Safety Champiion

Recent client work has included contrasting experiences.  It reminds us that the Safety champion in the organisation must have enthusiasm, energy, commitment and be empowered to act.

Client A is a high tech, local, small enterprise that really gets safety and risk.  The in house Safety Champion has pulled together a de facto working party of three disparately skilled people that has brought up to date and are addressing the hazards in an existing but previously idle risk register at a great rate.  As well as dealing with their risks they are starting to build a policy framework and have created a training schedule with training of all staff to occur in February as well as assessments of all workstations.   BFA, sub-contracting to Work Safety Hub, has a role here to mentor, second opinion, nudge and also seek out best practice information such as lone worker safety devices.  We are oiling their wheels but they are driving.  They are a joy to work with.

Client B is a large enterprise subsidiary of an international organisation.  BFA role here has been to help this firm try to build its risk register, create a training matrix and a calendar of actions to create a WHS system applicable across Australia.  This firm has allocated a one-person link through a Quality professional who seems not to be trying to resolve safety issues but to meet budget and complete task boxes.  We know Client B will not succeed until they pick the right person and engender some momentum addressing risk.  Here we have provided training and our expertise but the getting of the advice seems to be the outcome – not the acting on it.  We have provided wheels, oil, engine and road but no-one is driving.  They have been “disappointing” to deal with.

Client A – nimble, enthusiastic, achieving rapid risk reduction.

Client B – ponderous, tick-the-box compliance, achieving nothing

As consultants we wish all clients could be like Client A.  The crucial difference – not size, not history, not level of risk, the crucial difference is the mindset of the internal champion.  rarely if ever described in safety research or blogs, the internal practitioner or champion is one of the keys to the success or failure of a safety transformation.

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