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How to Lead a 2020 WHS Policies and Procedures Revival (Part 2)

Posted by Andrew Watters on

In part one, we recognised that WHS policies and procedures can become boring, then routine, and ultimately dangerous as laziness sets in. We suggested five ways to stir a revival in OHS procedures compliance. We’re talking about an intervention - poolside mouth-to-mouth that revives your workplace safety ethos. We’re saving lives, by injecting life. 

In our first article, we proposed five safety management system interventions. We explained these by referencing our comprehensive WHS Management Systems so you could see safety resources applied in a practical and relevant way. 

We also announced a sale to help you take advantage of the new-year potential.

Packages for WHS Policies and Procedures are 20% Off

We announced a ‘New Year 20’ incentive sale. This means that until midnight 31 March, you can enjoy a 20% discount on all:

To enjoy the discount, simply purchase before the end of March, and enter ‘NY20’ at the checkout. Saving 20% across such a broad range of products can amount to a significant saving.

The Five Safety Management System Interventions

In part one, we talked about interventions one and two, and how these could bring renewed life, focus, appreciation and compliance to your safety procedures. Those interventions included:

  • Demonstrate integrity when implementing your safety management system.
  • Connect a worthy purpose to your WHS policies and procedures. 
  • Fuel your safety management system by showing somebody cares. 
  • Advocate for your policy, procedures as well as your people. 
  • Respect humility and humanity to improve your OHS procedures. 

Let’s now unpack items three through five.

Intervention 3: 

Fuel Your Safety Management System by Showing that Somebody Cares 

Do you care about OHS procedures? Do your staff know they are important to you

One way to communicate this is to acknowledge your staff’s WHS compliance. Encouraging reinforcement really does work. It encourages a repeat performance. 

Appreciation (almost) always motivates. When a child hears, “Wow, what a great smile!” they are more motivated to look after that smile. Teeth cleaning is less of a chore when there’s a reward connected. Most kids understand the logic of teeth cleaning and they hate the idea of dentists, but they engage best with teeth cleaning processes, only when their emotions are engaged. 

They’re emotion-driven. Are we adults really all that different?

Consider the following questions:

  1. How can you acknowledge the correct WHS behaviour of individuals or teams? 
  2. Is there a way you can draw attention to what otherwise might be ignored?
  3. Can you acknowledge someone in front of the rest of their crew? 
  4. Can you send an email, mention them in a meeting, post a notice or simply give them an encouraging word and a pat on the back?

If you can do these things, can you also make a habit of doing so?

Every time the safety management system is complied with, a potential disaster is avoided. Small habits keep catastrophes at bay.

OHS Procedures and the Intermittent Reward

When it comes to rewarding safe behaviour, intermittent reinforcement works best. Don’t reward every time, or follow a predictable pattern; rather, offer verbal appreciation and material rewards in a seemingly random way. In behavioural psychology circles, this is known as a sporadic reinforcement schedule. If you’d like to learn more about this, there’s a good starter article here.

Intervention 4: 

Advocate for People, Procedures and Policy

It’s essential that all three remain on everyone’s radar (people, processes and policy). But how can you do this? 

To a significant degree, you’ll already be doing this if you’re practising the first three interventions. That’s because:

  • Exercising integrity displays both people-focus and leadership.
  • A well-implemented safety management system will inevitably reinforce people, procedure and policy.
  • When WHS policies and procedures are connected to a worthy purpose, people almost always benefit.
  • When people see you prioritise the safety management system, all three are advocated for.

So, why look at the advocating issue? That’s because this fourth intervention forces us to think about people and the way they interact with the safety management system. 

Advocating for your team members is more than knowing who's on the team and what role they fulfil. Advocating means intentionally going to bat for them, and when you advocate for all three, you inevitably go to bat for all three. 

This intervention is all about encouraging deliberate and focused intent.

Intervention 5: 

Respect Humility and Humanity to Improve Your OHS Procedures 

So, your team doesn't want to get injured, but they’re also not excited about safety management. They don’t want their workmates injured either, but WHS policies and procedures still annoy them. Where’s the disconnect? Is there anything you can do to change this?

The disconnect is their humanity - and fighting a person’s natural instincts is an exhausting battle. Better to accept the fact that we are all prone to slackness, then embrace the opportunity to educate and motivate. 

Enthusiasm for the mundane does not come easily. When you find zealots for safety management they usually teach it, make their living from it, have witnessed tragedy or have experienced a life-altering close-call. The experience creates the perspective. This is normal. This is human. 

Enthusiasm and passion are usually birthed through an extraordinary experience. That Highway Patrol coppa is a hard-arse because he attended a tragic road accident as a young Constable. That devoted parent experienced or witnessed devoted parenting, or they experienced or witnessed the opposite.  The experience births the perspective.

Tips therefore include:

  1. Don’t expect excitement and zeal. Be satisfied with professionalism.
  2. Promote teamwork that leans on individual strengths. When you do this you acknowledge both weakness and strength in individuals. If done well, this promotes humility and team cohesion if done well.
  3. Accept the humanity of a person that isn’t excited about WHS policies and procedures, but deal firmly with those who actively work against it. Some are demotivators, who spread unprofessional attitudes and laziness through a team. Others are simply absent-minded. Both will bring your safety management system undone. 
  4. Recognise that many people make errors, have bad days, but also want to be good at what they do. Humbly correcting them while recognising their human frailty will help you train and encourage them, rather than lose their unpolished potential.

We’re not trying to excite them, we’re trying to revive them. The primary goal of a safety management system is to work effectively with people in all of their humanity

The Five Safety Management System Interventions

We’ve now outlined five interventions that will help you renew focus on your safety management system, and help your team members appreciate and comply with your WHS policies and procedures. In review, these five interventions are:

  • Demonstrate integrity when implementing your safety management system.
  • Connect a worthy purpose to your WHS policies and procedures. 
  • Fuel your safety management system by showing somebody cares. 
  • Advocate for your policy, procedures as well as your people. 
  • Respect humility and humanity to improve your OHS procedures. 

To help you do this, we’ve reduced our already affordably-priced resources. Our safety management systems are now reduced by 20%. 

We planned to run this special until the end of February, but are now extending the ‘New Year 20’ sale until March 31. You can view the package opportunities by following these links.

If you have any questions, and you’ve worked with us before, you know that we’re serious about going the extra mile. We serve with integrity, purposeful direction, personal care, broad advocacy focus and an intimate and effective understanding of humanity. You might say we practise what we’ve just been preaching. 

Call 1800 304 336 to ask questions or even process a purchase. You can also request a callback here.

Create your own safety management system revival.


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