Reconnecting with Peter

I haven’t spoken to Peter for quite some time, but he is one of those people that it doesn’t seem to matter. He is warm and friendly, and it the time disappears.

Peter is retired now, but previously had a long and successful career in health, safety and environment in a large multinational. He came from an era before the ISO standards revolution, and watched it happen. His thoughts on this subject? He prefers to do things, rather than write about them….how many of us can relate to that thought?

I am currently talking to people about ways in which our Proactively product could help make life better. I ask Peter about a list of common problems that Compliance Managers face today. It is a conversation I have had with many companies, and I think I know what he is going to say.

I ask him to rank what I feel are 4 significant problems. You may have a different list (and I would be interested to hear what that is), but for today it is:

Do you find :

much of your time is taken up with admin, rather than making a difference

  • People commit to an action, but then don’t do it

  • It is difficult to get employees interested in the ISO system

  • It is difficult to sell the idea of HSEQ to senior managers and get the resources needed

  • But what a surprise, Peter doesn’t relate to any of the problems! These are not issues that he had. How can that be?

I used to work with Peter, and delivered an enormous amount of safety training for him. He wanted everyone in the organisation to go through the appropriate course. You can imagine this was a huge investment in money and time, and not popular with everyone. But the outcome is that everyone in the organisation has a good understanding of why H&S is important, and a reasonable idea of what to do about it. They can take responsibility. They integrate H&S into their work activities. They have taken a big step towards what it the holy grail for so many companies an ‘effective safety culture.’

It brought home to me that if you want to be a company where everyone believes and acts as though safety is everyone’s responsibility, training is vital part of this. It is the foundation.

Peter’s reply:

It sounds a bit like me, but it comes from the good old Naval adage “Gunnery Officers do Gunnery – Safety Officers do Safety !” I set out to make sure that “Gunnery Officers did Gunnery Safely; with help, advice and guidance from the Safety Professionals.” I then moved it into the business world where I promoted what I thought was a positive safety culture by getting Managers to manage their business safely; with a little help from their friends, the Safety Professionals. You are quite correct, Instruction; Information; and Training are key.