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IS0 9001: 2015 and ISO 14001:2015 Management Standards now Published

What’s your views on the recent updated management standards for Quality and Environment Management? Will they make a real change or is just a cosmetic change which will have minimal impact. Lets hear your views on this and see if we can come up with an approach that will move companies forward in quality and environmental management.

Coming Soon a Great Training Opportunity for EHS Professionals, be the next generation of high earners

Certified Training Isqem

Certified Training ISQEM













Check back soon as we will be announcing one of the greatest opportunities for EHS professionals in EHS training. We will be offering the world first complete certified international training programme that will allow you to be one of the top professionals in industry. We know that the majority of  training that is offered by others has missed the mark in getting the recognition we all deserve, now its about to change.  Make sure you come back soon or email us at  if you would like information on the greatest opportunity to improve your career you will ever see.

Don’t miss this opportunity as it only comes around once in a life time. If you want to be a high earner then the you need to learn from those that earn 6 figure salaries and gain that advantage . You will learn the secrets of the profession that have never been shared before on how to get to the top.

Email:  quoting EHSPRO in your email heading.


Coming Soon ISQEM Individual Awards

Make sure that you visit the ISQEM main website https:/  as we will be announcing the 2015 individual EHS awards scheme. This is open for anyone who is working in the Safety, Quality or Environmental professions.  This is your chance to shine in the industry and make your mark.

We will have the full details on how you can  apply available on the ISQEM website on the 31st October 2015.

Enter the 2015 Individual Awards for Safety, Quality and Environment Professionals

Check out our main membership website  this Friday when we will be opening the 2015 awards for individuals working within the Quality, Safety and Environment Professions.  The awards are free to enter. Full details will be on the website on Friday 7th August 2015.

Awards Safety Quality Environment ISQEM

International Safety Quality Environment Management Awards 2015. Application Form Now Available

International Safety Quality Environment Management Awards 2015. Application Form Now Available.

International Safety Quality Environment Management Awards 2015. Application Form Now Available

Posted by Mike Wilson

Gold Globe Statue Award

International Safety Quality Environment Management

Awards 2015

Now Open for Entry

Download Application Forms, from the ISQEM website  Click Here

Award Categories

International  Safety Management Award

International Quality Management Award

International  Environmental Management Award

 These awards are presented to proactive organisations who can demonstrate a strong commitment to improving health and safety, quality or environmental management performance within their organisation.  So this is your chance to be recognised as a world leader on the international arena.

 Application Forms, from the ISQEM website  Click Here

Dead line for Submission 28th May 2015

ISQEM believe any award should be given based on an organizations and an individuals proactive commitment to drive change, engage employees, and improve overall EHS and quality performance.


Compliance Management Standard ISO 19600:2014

Article by: Wayne J Harris

ISQEM Compliance ISO 19600:2014

Compliance ISO 19600:2014











The world of compliance management is changing in connection with ISO standards for Quality, Environment and the future release of ISO 45001 for Safety. The question that is often asked by many people is why we need to have so many standards when surely one will do.

So how can businesses get it right, without being complicated or cumbersome to implement and control?  With new safety laws, regulations and standards appearing on a regular basis it can be a nightmare for organisations to keep abreast of the impacts to its business functions.

Corporate governance has become one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today. Failing to have the right controls and culture in place may result in major financial loss, especially when it’s connected with compliance to safety or environmental regulatory requirements.

ISO 19600 is it the answer?

With the recent publication of the new ISO 19600:2014 in December 2014 it is an easy option that organisations can look at to develop and implement effective compliance management systems.  The standard can also be used as a benchmarking tool for existing systems against an international standard of compliance.

Now many businesses will question the need for this new standard and see it as unnecessary cost. But in the case of the Compliance Management standard it should do the opposite, reduce cost and improve management control processes.

Why Compliance Management?

The term compliance in general context simply means conforming to stated requirements.  At an organisational level, it is mainly achieved through defined management processes which identify the applicable requirements (for example  laws, regulations, and codes of conduct, industry standards, contracts, strategies and policies).

However compliance management is more than just meeting the requirements of laws and regulations.  Organizations often have to deal with many safety requirements that may be defined by customers, investors or other stakeholders.  We need to ensure that a robust means of benchmarking is maintained or holes may appear in an organisations business management framework.


Compliance Management ISQEM








What if  you don’t have a Management System to ISO Standards?

Organisations that have not already adopted ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001 can easily adopt the ISO Compliance Management Standard to be used as a framework within their business.  It is a simple approach that will assist organisations to develop robust management systems.

ISO 19600:2014 is expected to become a universal benchmark used by businesses in order to show compliance and corporate governance to its stake holders as well as regulators.  It is time to start a new journey with continual improvement based on integrated compliance management.

The ultimate objective of compliance management is to make sure that companies fulfil all their responsibilities and effectively manage the risk of potential non-conformance.  Make sure that your organisation is not left behind in compliance management.



Author: Wayne J Harris 

Wayne Harris is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 32 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. Presently Chairman of ISQEM. He has a comprehensive understanding of the global risk and safety issues facing organisations in today’s business economy.  Email:


Simple and Easy Employee Engagement Ideas for Improving OHS

Article by: Wayne J Harris – HSE Professional

ISQEM Engagement in OHS Training

We need to change, but how do we engage our employees in Occupational Health and Safety OHS? This question is often asked by management, yet it is not simple to answer, as there are many variables that need to be addressed.   Before anyone implements an employee engagement strategy they need to recognise there are various aspects to consider including;

  1. Nationality of Employees
  2. Cultural Development
  3. Social Environment at Work
  4. Language of the Workforce
  5. Religion
  6. Ethnic Traditions/Customs
  7. Educational Levels of Employees

Employee engagement is not an exact science and there is no magic solution. Traditionally employee engagement has been focused on by Human Resources (HR) departments, working on the concept of engaging people towards a productive culture of success. In some cases focusing purely on ensuring staff retention or personal development, yet it often fails to address the important issue of OHS or loss prevention, making the process flawed.

The basic structure of employee engagement is based on company values. These values determine the why, how and what is acceptable within an organisation. If OHS is neglected when establishing these values employee will not believe or trust what top management is saying or doing.

Occupational health and safety has to be incorporated into an organisations overall corporate engagement strategy, if not OHS will be seen as a silo management process with no relationship to the overall values of the company.

 ISQEM Training Engagment in EHS, OHS, HSE

Some Ideas to start you off

Here are a few ideas you can use for inspiration when coming up with your employee engagement programme to ensure that you address OHS at the same time.

  1. Have Departments create their own set of OHS values

Give employees the opportunity to come up with their own set of values or rules. Departments can create a strong team spirit, based on 2-3 commonly agreed values or OHS rules that contribute to the overall performance of the team. People like to feel empowered to make their own decisions and are more likely to see the benefits of the rules or values that have been put in place.

  1. Mentors / Guides for New Employees

We know that one of the critical times for people to settle into an organisation is in the first 1 to 3 months of starting employment. An important part of the on boarding process is feeling comfortable and confident in knowing what is expected and importantly the OHS processes to follow. Having someone guide new starters alleviates problems and contributes to a successful on boarding of new staff speeding up the critical settling in period, and acceptance of OHS rules.

Remember a mentor or guide can be anyone in a team, as long as they actually support a new starter. It is one way to give empowerment and responsibility to someone and at the same time they get respect from fellow work colleagues, creating engagement satisfaction.

  1. Make sure that people have Equipment and Resources to do their Job

One of the biggest gripes of employees is not having the right safety equipment or resources to do their jobs. If you give people the items they require they are more likely to working safely and efficiently. If you don’t give the right equipment or resources expect poor standards and poor employee engagement. Have employees participate in the testing and selection of personal protective equipment, that way they will be more likely to accept it.

  1. Encourage Innovation

There is always an opportunity to learn from others, and encouraging people to be innovative is a win-win scenario for everyone. You will be surprised how many great ideas are floating around the office or on a worksite. Why not establish a reward scheme for OHS ideas that benefit the organisation by inspiring people to think outside the box and come up with new ways to improve day-to-day business.

Set up a Workplace Innovation Workshop and have employees participate in a brain storming session. This creates two engagements streams, open communication and encouragement to contribute to improving work conditions. You will be surprised how useful these types of events can be to an organisation.

  1. Recognise and Openly Celebrate Achievements

It is important that we acknowledge what people have accomplished at work and how it has contributed to the success of the business. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what position you hold in a company, we all need to hear the most important 2 words to inspire us, which is “THANK YOU”.

By publicly recognising people’s achievements or performance we can give a real boost of energy to an individual or a team of people. It’s all about creating synergy and engaging people on a personal level.

My one tip is to try not to use incident statistics as a celebration, as it is often seen as a negative by employees. If you don’t hit an incident rate target everyone feels they have failed and become instantly demoralised.



I could add many other ideas to the above, but all I want to do is make people think on how they should approach employee engagement and OHS. It’s important that organisation brainstorm ideas and take input from employees. It is only with a transparent and open employee engagement strategy that true benefits and progress can be made. It’s important that you try and adapt new and innovative ideas, until you find the perfect fit for your organisation.

Having used all of the above ideas with great success I know and appreciate what can be achieved. However, what works for one organisation might not work for another, so always do your homework and plan carefully. Otherwise your engagement strategy might easily turn out to be disengagement.


About the Author: Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly respected HSE (Health Safety Environment) professional with over 31 year’s international experience. He has extensive business and technical acumen gained successfully undertaking director and senior level roles, specialising in corporate change management. Expert knowledge of health and safety, and security management within the construction, facilities management, petrochemical, railway and engineering industries, including a comprehensive understanding of operational and business management.

Hearts and Minds in winning the Battle of Safety Engagement

Article by:  Wayne J Harris – HSE Professional

ISQEM Hearts and Minds

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) compliance is not just about management systems, or policies, it’s about employee engagement.  Yet unfortunately we still see people following the old fashioned notion that a manager has to be independent, strong and stand back from his workers to get respect; otherwise they will be seen as weak and unable to control the business.

There is still a tendency to believe that knowledge is ultimate power so why should we involve others, especially those at the lower level of an organisation.  However in reality it is the very opposite, top managers or leaders are those who openly engage at all levels and encourage emotional and social involvement within an organisation.  It’s all about winning hearts and minds.

We have to remember that leadership is based on engagement and inspiration. Failing to recognise the basic needs of employees can and will produce negative outcomes. This is especially relevant when it comes to quality and safety performance in the workplace. Failing to engage employees will ultimately result in lack of trust and a tendency to question or view change as a negative process.

Engagement in the Workplace

There is no doubt employees will only get engaged if they feel the work environment enables them to openly participate.  Employees should be inspired to come to work fully engaged. The challenge for any organisation is to create the conditions that will enable engagement to happen in a proactive manner. Safety compliance and employee engagement are top priority issues for senior managers all over the world.

In any organisation it is critical that a trenchant approach is taken in defining a policy that makes management responsible for creating conditions at work that will facilitate employee engagement. Otherwise business failure is just waiting around the corner.

Winning Hearts and Minds

The term “Winning Hearts and Minds” is well known strategy approach used by the military in many countries. In addition we see the same strategic elements within other public and governmental organisations. However the complexity of a hearts and mind approach in the commercial world is dependent on an organisations OHS maturity and present cultural understanding. It is based on simple rules of getting alignment and engagement from people, to what you want to change within an organisation.

When we look at basic human nature which is often defined as “The general psychological characteristics, feelings, and behavioural traits of humankind, regarded as shared by all humans” then we can easily associate the “Hearts and Minds” approach to management engagement.  We need to appreciate the basic needs of people to relate and socially interact with others, and accept that building relationships at work is one of the general cornerstones in developing a robust safety or OHS management culture.

Managers who care about the safety of people and visibly demonstrate a caring attitude will ultimately gain the respect and trust of employees.  They will be viewed as true leaders inspiring others to be motivated to perform at the best of their abilities.  By managing in line with basic human needs of integration, acceptance and recognition, the working dynamics of employees can be significantly improved, helping to set the foundation of the entire organisational safety philosophy.

Transforming your organisations Safety culture

Leadership and culture are intertwined elements of a safe workplace. Adopting simple behavioural traits in line with a hearts and mind strategy you can start to transform your organisation. By taking the fundamental aspects of human nature of being involved, and feeling valued, you can and will see changes.  We have often seen what 2 simple, yet powerful words “Thank You” can do to someone when it comes to an individual’s motivation, yet unfortunately those two words are not often used appropriately in the work environment.

There is no need to complicate management or employee engagement with fancy safety gimmicks or superficial promotions. It’s about making sure people are feeling valued and creating an atmosphere at work that will cultivate a safety environment and help shape behaviours of people. People do not follow safety rules just because the procedures manual say’s they should, they follow rules because they believe in them, and value the reasons behind them.

3E ISQEM Safety Engagement

The 3E’s to winning Hearts and Minds

In order to move forward in OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) we need to ensure that we adopt the simple 3E approach, which will help us to shift people’s mind-set.

  1. Empowerment – Giving people the authority to act and take action will build trust and ultimate respect for others in the workplace.
  2. Engagement – Participation in decision making processes and engaging people in meetings and OHS systems development, or training delivery.
  3. Encouragement – People need to know that they can put forward ideas and participate in the running of OHS. Encouraging employees to be open and acknowledging people’s skills and achievements.

Taking the journey of safety transformation from one level to the next can be seen as daunting for many organisations. The question of too much time and financial investment is often used as an excuse to trundle along doing the same thing and accepting risk. Yet this approach often becomes a costly commercial mistake by the organisation and can result in major losses.

It’s about identifying where you are today as far as corporate maturity and employee engagement, and then creating a realistic framework for OHS change.  The priority should be given to engagement of employees around strong leadership and management involvement. By taking the ‘’Heart and Minds’’ approach to employee engagement organisations can develop simple and cost effective solutions, which will generate a genuine return on investment.


There is no excuse for any organisation not to have safety management strategies in place within their workplace. It comes down to keeping things simple, understandable and most importantly that it encourages and expects involvement at all employee levels.

So before you start any future safety promotion or new Safety management system, take a step back and ask yourself 3 simple yet vital questions;

  1. Will it engage people at all levels within the organisation?
  2. Will it inspire people at all levels to make sustainable changes?
  3. Will it be easy to implement and manage?

If the answer is “No’’ to any of the above questions then you will need to go back to the drawing board and start again.  Otherwise all you end up doing is costing your organisation time and money, and achieve if lucky very minimal results.

Download PDF Copy. Hearts and Minds in winning the Battle of Safety Engagement 23-11-2014

About the Author:  Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly respected HSE (Health Safety Environment) professional with over 30 year’s international experience. He has extensive business and technical acumen gained successfully undertaking director and senior level roles, specialising in corporate change management. Expert knowledge of health and safety, and security management within the construction, facilities management, petrochemical, railway and engineering industries, including a comprehensive understanding of operational and business management.


ISQEM International Mentorship Programme

ISQEM Mentorship Programme

Safety Mentorship Programme 2015

Fantastic opportunity to join a unique safety mentorship programme in 2015.  This FREE programme is open  to 10 people from around the world and is suitable for all levels from EHS Officer/ Advisor, Manager, to Director level.

The mentorship programme can be applied for by Companies or Individuals,  and will be developed around clear guidelines and objectives, to allow everyone to benefit.   This is the first time a mentorship programme of this style and content has been offered in the HSE industry.

Mentor Details:  –

Name: Wayne J Harris 

Mentoring Since: 2005

Wayne Harris International Health and Safety Professional

Wayne Harris is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 31 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. He has a comprehensive understanding of the global risk and safety issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy.

He is also a leading international speaker and chairman of safety conferences/summits around the world and has participated in over 50 events.

In addition he is also the Chairman of ISQEM and a past Director of the WSO.

Application for Mentorship

To apply for this great learning and career growth opportunity, applicants will need to write a “Mentee statement” of 400 words max, on the reasons why you want to be mentored.  The statements will be reviewed and those selected to participate will be informed in December 2014.

If you wish to participate in this free mentorship programme you will need to send in your Mentee statement  by the 21st November 2014 to the following email;

Please share this with other health and safety professionals and lets start to help people in the industry

International Mentorship Programme Provided by ISQEM as part of its continual education programme

Mike Wilson

International Safety Quality Environment Management Association (ISQEM)

Art of Persuasion and Safety leadership

Article By: Wayne J Harris

We can do it ISQEM

Last week I hosted a one day senior management workshop for a group of 20 managers.  The main purpose to change their attitudes and behaviours in regards to safety, management and leadership.

I decided to approach the workshop using techniques that would inspire them to look at how they interact at different levels with the workforce and most importantly develop their style of communication.

Throughout the training I only used the actual word “Safety” less than a dozen times. The reasons for this approach was to not to make it a safety training session, but a management change workshop using the art of persuasion.

It was only at the very end during my final closing statement that I asked for 3 things to be done that would help improve safety.  All 3 items involved zero cost and very little time or input by the managers.

I found that by using the art of persuasion and linking the workshop around their day-to-day work, the message that safety is an outcome rather than an overhead burden was fully understood.

Many of the delegates said it was the first safety training workshop they had attended that did not talk about safety all day, yet they learnt more and understood how it’s a crucial part of management and success of their business.

So what is Persuasion?

ISQEM Success

Persuasion is about influencing people. Persuasion can attempt to influence a person’s attitudes intentions, beliefs, motivations, customs, or behaviours.

In the business world, persuasion and safety are definitely linked, it is a process aimed at changing a person’s (or a group’s) attitude or behaviour towards work activities. This is achieved by written or spoken words to convey information, feelings, or reasoning.

Persuasion is also linked to a person’s acceptance to someone else’s personal capabilities.  If someone believes that an individual is an expert or knowledgeable in their field of expertise, they are more likely to accept the information being shared.

Taking it one more step up the leadership ladder

It is generally acknowledged that management requires multi-skilled individuals. The skills of planning, delegation, problem solving and communication are seen as critical for management and leadership roles. Yet surprisingly the skill of persuasion is still rarely acknowledged or utilised.

In today’s workplace environment, persuasion can be your key to make the safety changes your organisation desires.  Instead of telling people what to do, try persuading them instead, you might be surprised how much you will achieve.


Author: Wayne J Harris


What are International Safety Professionals / Specialists?

By: Wayne J. Harris

ISQEM International Safety Professional Specialist

During a recent conference I was approached by a HSE manager who asked me “what are international safety professionals”.  The reason for the question was because he had recently applied for an international job and was rejected, despite having all the necessary industry related experience.

So first of all let’s put some perspective on titles that are quite often used by people when it comes to working overseas or internationally.

For the purpose of this article the term Safety in the below titles can also be taken as OHS, EHS, HSE or any other common acronym used to define an occupational health and safety practitioner. The term Practitioner can also be taken as Manager, Advisor, Officer, or Engineer

NOTE: Different countries take different approaches to ensuring occupational health and safety.  Actual job responsibilities will vary between countries and regions.

Overseas Safety Practitioner

This term is used to define someone who sometimes works outside of their home country. In general they tend to have limited exposure to countries or continents and normally work in the same industry sectors such as construction, pharmaceuticals, petrochemical, manufacturing etc.   This title also applies to individuals who may work overseas for a few years in single geographical areas i.e. Middle East and UK (Europe).

International Safety Professional / Specialist

The international safety professional / specialist is someone who has worked fulltime in multiple countries and continents, outside of his or her home country / continent for the majority of their safety career.  They have held senior corporate level positions, involved in developing an organizations management systems or safety strategy. In general they have fulltime safety experience exceeding 20 years.

International Safety Consultant

To be called an International Safety Consultant you also need to meet the criteria of the International Safety Professional / Specialist. Plus have consulting experience.  (This title is quite often misused as people mistakenly believe by just doing a few consultancy contracts or delivering training courses overseas qualifies them an international safety consultant).

 Working at an International level

If you are looking at working in a different country you will need to take a very serious look at how you as an individual will settle in to the role. It is not a question of just having safety knowledge and experience. You will need to be a good communicator, able to think out of the box and most importantly have patience.

One of the common mistakes made by people when they first move overseas is to use their own country as the minimum benchmark for safety standards and compliance. As you travel, you will soon learn the local practices of how things are done correctly or incorrectly. However you must understand that not everything you see as a safety violation is wrong; it might just be different country rules or regulations.

You need to remember that some countries are still developing on a social and economic level. The role of the international safety practitioner / professional is to take a company on a journey of continual improvement.

One thing for sure, working on an international level will help you to gain valuable experience and knowledge of working in diverse environments. You will meet some fantastic people and have personal satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to improving global occupational health and safety.




Author: Wayne Harris

Wayne Harris is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 31 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. He has a comprehensive understanding of the global risk and safety issues facing organisations in today’s business economy. Email:

The Change Maker approach to OHS Success.

Part 1 of 2

Article by: Wayne J Harris

Embrace or Reject OHS Change

Having been involved in corporate change and restructuring for over 31 years, I have witnessed many people making the fundamental mistake of not identifying real Change Makers within a business.  Hence they rarely achieve any substantial or sustainable improvements.

When things are not moving forward in safety performance, we have to stop and re-evaluate our approach.  Yet unfortunately not everyone seems to see the importance of this and they continue to pursue the same approach over and over again, failing to see that continuation is entirely nugatory.

Developing and improving safety leadership and compliance involves a process of organisational and personal change analysis. Only when the analysis is completed can you start to identify a combination of management tools or processes that will allow people to evolve and make positive changes.

Remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity “Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.  Well unfortunately sometime people still forget to appreciate this simple but relevant fact.

The question is what do you do when you hit a plateau in safety performance?

Time to Change.

A point of time will come when you will exhaust or stagnate with your present systems approach and will need to make a calculating change to your leadership and management programme.   At this point you must ensure you complete a proper analysis, otherwise you will not be in a position to identify improvements under what I call the “ The 8 Change Makers”.

So what are the 8 Change Makers?

Change makers fall into eight categories, all of which must be researched and analysed to identify sustainable and cost-effective improvements in performance and OHS compliance.  They include;

  1. Corporate Structure
  2. Employees
  3. Machinery and Equipment
  4. Finance and Budgetary Controls
  5. Business Market Sectors
  6. Clients
  7. Legal
  8. Societal and Geographical Footprint

Each of the above categories plays a major part in establishing and improving performance, compliance and incident prevention. If you fail to take into account all of these elements, then your approach to leadership and overall safety management will be very limited, or worst case may even fail.

Typical Mistakes

First of all let’s look at a few of the typical mistakes made when companies approach safety change or leadership.

1. Revamping the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management System – We have all seen this or heard of this before, OHS is not working very well, and incident rates are high. So the first knee jerk reaction is to revamp or completely re-write the OHS management system, all without any real justification to back-up the changes.

2. Selecting the wrong Safety Leaders or Champions – Job title alone does not make someone appropriate to be a safety leader or safety champion.  Yet quite often we see the mistake of selecting senior people, or OHS staff believing by default they must be good safety leaders.  This unfortunately is not always the case, as some people will never become leaders purely because they are missing certain personal qualities, or attributes fundamental to becoming an effective leader

3. Over Training- Don’t get me wrong I know training is crucial to successful implementation of OHS, but it can also be a hindrance or obstacle for making real progress.  The subject matter and quality of content can also be questionable in regards to duration, suitability and ultimately the retention of knowledge by employees. Major re-training programmes can be costly and companies expect a return on their investment (ROI)

4. Lack of Cohesion – When there is lack of cohesion in a company towards OHS change you will seriously struggle to succeed.  Failing to address the needs of individual departments or operational functions within your organisation will place barriers in the way.

5. Failing to observe Societal and Geographical Impacts – Organisations sometimes fail to take into consideration the geographical spread and impacts of their operations.  We have to remember the approach and acceptance of OHS, is often dependent on culture, religion and other societal considerations.  “Just because an OHS system works well in Switzerland it does not mean it will work in the Sudan or UK”.


Planning for Successful Change

ISQEM OHS Change Management

In part 2 of this paper we will look at the key steps you need to complete to undertake a change management analyse.  In addition we will address some of the common problems faced by OHS professionals in achieving buy-in from senior management or a board of directors

I recommend everyone to have a real good look at their organisations performance in regards to safety.  You never know, maybe it’s time for you to start making changes and move to a higher level of OHS management and compliance.


About the Author:

Wayne Harris is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and OHS management systems with over 31 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. Wayne has vast experience in developing corporate change programmes for OHS management and leadership development.  Contact:

Tired of arguing the case for Safety in EHS Meetings?

Delegation ISQEM

How many times have you felt that you are at loggerheads in EHS meetings with your management on safety issues?  It seems that you are constantly arguing the reasons for safety, yet people are still not seeing the big picture.

First of all you need to understand that human beings see things differently.  If you asked 10 persons to define the risk of climbing a 3 meter ladder, the answers will be different; this is due to people’s individual risk tolerance levels.  The same goes when we are discussing safety in an EHS meeting, not everyone will get to see the same picture or understand why it is so important.

So what can you do to make things easier in your EHS meetings?

Lobby and Communicate.   A simple yet often forgotten aspect of successful meetings is lobbying.  Sometimes you will need to rally support before you approach a subject in a meeting.  This is extremely important in the case of recommending or promoting changes in EHS management systems or items that might incur major investment. Remember early communication is the key to success in any meeting.

Remind People.  At times you will need to remind people of the objectives of the EHS meeting and why the attendees are there.   People need to be clear about the purpose of the meeting and that their role is to provide input on behalf of the whole company, not just their own work environment.

Meeting Protocols.  Good meeting room practices can help diffuse disputes or arguments. All members of an EHS meeting must be given the time to say what they want and ask questions. There must also be a clear decision-making protocol, so that you can reach an agreement to adopt safety practices or ideas.

Establish Meeting Standards of BehaviourIt is important how meetings are run in terms of behaviours and attitudes.  EHS meetings can at times get out of control, especially if turns into a personal attack or when questioning people’s ability.  Therefore you need to make the meeting constructive and avoid negative or personal arguments.

Use External Speakers in Meetings.   It’s surprising what difference it can make when someone from outside your organisation talks about how EHS changes have improved their company.  The external speaker approach can be highly beneficial as people tend to listen, associate their own issues and raise questions on suitable solutions.

The Agenda.  Try to keep your EHS meeting focused on real issues that need to be addressed.  Quite often EHS meetings turn into a presentation of statistics, PowerPoint slides and photos of unsafe practices, with very little constructive discussion.  You need to make sure that your meetings target areas for improvement and prioritize what is needed to be done.  It is pointless trying to discuss 101 issues as people will just switch off.

Final Comment:

EHS meetings can be a great management tool for change, yet if mismanaged they can turn out be nothing but a waste of people’s time.  So  next time you attend a meeting  take a step back and have a real hard look at what is happening.  If the meeting is not working then it’s up to you to raise the issue and recommend changes to other meeting members.


Why Investigate Incidents or Accidents, No One Else Thinks We Should?

Article by: Wayne Harris

ISQEM Accident Investigation Course

We have all heard it before, “why does the safety guy insist on investigating all incidents, it’s just wasting everyone’s time and slowing down the job” or “You don’t understand these things happen all the time so why bother?

If this sounds familiar then it’s time to step back and look at your company’s approach to accident prevention, and employees perception of the value of reporting and conducting investigations.

Now one question which commonly comes up “is it really realistic to investigate all incidents or accidents”’ well the answer is of course a definite YES. The problem is many organisations fail to define to what level the investigations should be conducted, or how they will be utilised for accident prevention.

One common precursor that can cause investigations to fail is being restricted to following corporate timelines and standard report form structures. It can seriously stifle the investigator and often ends up with a poorly constructed report. This approach ultimately devalues the investigation and creates the miss-conception that it is just a paper exercise.

Incident or Accident Definition

There are many definitions around to describe an incident or accident and many organisations have made this into an overtly complex process. We have everything from near-misses, near-hits, restricted work cases, recordable, lost time, high impact, to an endless stream of other definitions, titles and acronyms. From an investigators point of view it is irrelevant on the terms used.

To make things simple the following two definitions generally apply.

Incident –  Any event, which under different circumstances, may have resulted in injury or ill-health of people, or damage to property, plant, materials or the environment or other business loss”.

Accident – “An unplanned event that resulted in injury or ill-health to people, or damage or loss to property, plant, materials or the environment or other business loss”.

So why should we investigate?

ISQEM Accident Investigation Course

As I have already stated, all incidents should be investigated and it’s for one simple reason to stop them from happening again. Now this might sound quite basic but let’s put this in to reality, the main purpose of investigation is to identify the causation factors and then identify any preventive or corrective action to prevent reoccurrence.

There are also many other reasons for investigating including company reputation, insurance claims, workers compensation payments to legal litigation cases and sometimes contractual requirements.

We must remember any investigation has certain deliverables and expected outcomes. That is why we need to continually assess and evaluate throughout the investigation, so that we can continue to proceed down the appropriate path.

Changing people’s perception about incident/accident investigations?

There are 3 simple steps you can take to raise the importance of incident / accident investigations;

Management and Supervisors Roles and Responsibilities

Make sure you incorporate incident investigations into management and supervisors roles and responsibilities. By involving people you will get them to understand the benefits and also have a direct involvement in coming up with practicable and sustainable corrective actions. However you must ensure that they have been given training on accident/incident investigations or they will not understand the basic steps involved.

Guidelines for conducting Investigations

Have clear guidelines on the investigation process so that people can choose and use the appropriate tools in relation to the severity of any incident or accident that may take place. This may include, analysis techniques, evidence gathering, to conducting accident investigation in specialist areas of operation.

Communication and follow-up

One of the key elements in accident prevention is the communication process. It is vital that communication is maintained from the start of the investigation to final conclusion of corrective or preventive actions. This does not just mean issuing an incident safety alert. It is about communicating at all levels of the organisation at different stages of the investigation. Remember, the more communication the better, as it will re-enforce the importance management place on safety and the prevention of accidents.


At the end of the day we cannot always prevent an accident from happening, this is due to the various internal and external factors that can be involved.  What we can do is ensure that whenever possible we put the preventive measures in place to reduce the probability.

The process of incident or accident investigation is one way that can contribute and hopefully prevent someone from being injured or worst case scenario killed at work. So make sure you establish a framework for investigations, before it’s too late.


About the Author:

Wayne Harris is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 31 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. Wayne has vast experience investigating major accidents around the world, including many multiple fatality cases and major incidents; he also conducts ISQEM Accident Investigations courses for organisations globally.

EHS Departments often fail due to lack of Vision

Author: Wayne J. Harris

Safety Leadership and Vision

A common cause of failure in many EHS or safety departments is that people are not inspired, or have the personal motivation to be creative and to go that extra mile to make changes happen.

So what can you do?

Any safety department must have a vision, a view of the future that will both excite and inspire them. This vision may be developed by an individual or collectively.

It is however up to the Department Head to be the Leader and ensure that the vision is driven to reality. Also to make sure everyone is made to feel they have contributed and are valued.

People find working for a strong Safety Leader can be a personally and professionally rewarding experience. They put their passion and energy into everything. They have a goal to achieve and want the safety department to succeed.

People will always follow a person who is passionate and ultimately inspires them

Creating your Vision

Here are 5 simple rules for creating a vision:

1.  Your vision should describe the resultant experience or outcome. Focus on the subsequent outcomes which you want to achieve over a period of time.

2. Keep your vision straightforward for example “to achieve the new ISO certification for EHS by June 2017 across all business Units”.

3. Do not use statements such as “Zero Accidents” or “Reduce Accidents by 50% in 2015” as this not something that you have  100% control over, due to various external factors.

4. Make sure the vision is easily understood by the employees.  Remember if the vision is complicated or a ream of random ideas you will fail to get buy-in.

5. Communicate and communicate again. Simple rule but often forgotten, tell people what has been achieved at different stages and thank those who have contributed.

Lead by Example

Good Safety Leaders are always visible and will stand up to be counted rather than hiding behind their team. They show by their attitudes and behaviours how everyone should behave to achieve success.

Leaders also make continued efforts to inspire the team into making that special effort to make things different and challenge old practices.

The Challenge

Safety Vison and Leadship ISQEM

EHS or Safety Leaders tend to see the big picture, but sometimes fail when it comes to routine details, which can cause problems.  It is important that any leader selects the right team to help take care of this level of information. Otherwise teams will slowly go off track and the vision will disappear forever.

My challenge to everyone is to revisit what is happening within your department.  Have you set a realistic vision that inspires, or are you just running the same old show over and over again.

Remember if you are not inspiring people to make a change and they lack motivation then  failure is just  waiting around the corner.  So stop and have a hard serious look at your EHS or Safety Department and evaluate your vision and how it will be achieved.



Author: Wayne Harris 

Wayne Harris,  Chairman of ISQEM, is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. He has a comprehensive understanding of the global risk and safety issues facing organisations in today’s business economy.  Email:



Wayne Harris, Chairman of ISQEM Recognised at World Quality Congress Awards


The ISQEM Team are extremely proud to announce that our Chairman, Wayne Harris, (standing on the Left) won the “Global Award for Outstanding Contribution to Leadership” at the World Quality Congress Awards. 

The event was held at the prestigious Taj hotel in Mumbai, India, and attended by industry leaders and speakers from around the world. The award was in recognition of Wayne’s contribution to the international safety, quality and environment professions and raising its profile around the world. 

Wayne who is a highly regarded speaker gave a presentation at the event on “Leadership and the Impacts of International Standards”. The presentation covered the impacts of the new ISO standards for Quality, Safety and Environment being published over next 3 years, and the impact to organisations and corporate leadership.

We look forward to continuing progress over the remainder of 2014 and thank the World Quality Congress Awards very much for the recognition of Wayne’s hard work, vision and dedication to the EHSQ professions.

If you would like to have Wayne  speak at your conference or corporate event email:

Why you may never be promoted to a Senior Safety Position

Author: Rick Lewis 


Everybody knows that to be promoted in the Safety profession you have to have that little bit extra to offer an employer, rather than just turning up on time for work every day. But still people seem to make the simplest mistakes during their career.  It doesn’t matter where you work there are 3 things that might stop you dead in your tracks when it comes to career development;

1. Complacency 

Number one on the list is complacency.  One way to ensure you never move up the corporate EHS ladder is to become complacent in your job. You can’t progress if your still doing the same old thing you did 10 or 20 years ago.

To progress in EHS everyone needs to develop their knowledge and skills in various aspects of management including;

  • Marketing
  • Quality
  • Technology
  • Commercial and Finance
  • Leadership

If you do not expand your business knowledge to a sufficient level in line with corporate management, re more than likely to get passed over when it comes to any real promotion.  Remember technology and business practices are continually changing, so you need to keep abreast of them or face the risk of becoming surplus to requirements.

 2. The Late Career Changer

We all have heard the saying “change is good as a rest”, however when it comes to promotion in the safety profession it can be the ball and chain that stops you from progressing further.

Just because someone has 20 years’ experience as an Administration Manager and 3 years working in a safety department, the first 20 years do not count when it comes to measuring competency in Environment Health and Safety (EHS).

Now before everyone objects and says “hang on a minute I use to be an Administration Manager and know all about EHS”, think again. From a company point of view, it is important that they appoint someone with a strong and proven background in EHS.

Just because someone has prior experience in a different profession does not mean they have exposure or the management skills to take on a senior EHS role.  Ask yourself, would you appoint an engineering manager to be your Financial Director, just because they had recently completed a qualification in finance?

3. Failing to have a Succession Plan 

Knowledge is power, or is it?  The person who falls in to the trap of believing that not sharing and keeping everything to their selves will strengthen their future are in for a shock.

Failing to delegate work or work as part of a team because you think you are the only one that can do the safety job can back fire.  The best way to showcase the reasons why you are an ideal candidate for promotion is to surround yourself with people that can easily take over your present role.

Companies need to be comfortable that they have not created a void by promoting you to a higher position, by having a clear succession plan you will greatly improve your chances. Remember when promoting people we are looking for someone who can aspire others to improve and grow in their careers.

Final Comment

There are many reasons why you might get overlooked for promotion, but definitely the above 3 are crucial for you to recognise and understand.  So start developing your own safety career strategy and you just might gain the advantage when it comes to promotion.




A selection of well-known Safety Slogans

Here are 100 safety slogans that you can use on posters, training slides and HSE briefings. Always remember its best to keep the use of slogans to a minimum and not to change them too often. Plus where possible use them with a graphic or photograph so people can relate to the message you are trying to convey.

  1. A wound neglected is a wound infected
  2. Accident prevention – Your No. 1 intention
  3. Accidents don’t just happen
  4. Always think safety no matter what the task
  5. Be a safety hero – score an accident zero
  6. Be aware – Take care
  7. Be aware of slips and trips
  8. Be safe to survive
  9. Be sure be safe
  10. Before you start be safety smart
  11. Better to be Safe Today than Dead Tomorrow
  12. Better to lock out than luck out
  13. B-Safe
  14. Check for safety then recheck
  15. Dead or alive, your choice
  16. Do the do’s not the don’t s
  17. Don’t fix the blame, fix the problem
  18. Don’t get caught in the web of unsafe acts
  19. Don’t get caught with your guard off – it could be disarming
  20. Even in a hi-tech world your eyes are still your greatest asset
  21. Everyone plays their part in safety
  22. Failing to prepare = Prepare to fail
  23. Get the safety habit
  24. Have you an eye for safety or are you blinded by bad habits
  25. Hear to-day gone tomorrow – use you hearing protection
  26. Hearing protection is a sound investment
  27. Horseplay is one way to have an accident
  28. If an accident is predictable its preventable
  29. If you are aware of it, take care of it
  30. It’s better to correct an unsafe friend than to bury one
  31. Know safety – No injury, No safety – Know injury
  32. Lifting’s a breeze when you bend at the knees
  33. Make safety a reality and don’t be a fatality
  34. Never forget about safety
  35. Never gamble with Safety
  36. Never give safety a day off
  37. No Safety – Know Pain, Know Safety – No Pain
  38. Normal speed meets every need
  39. One life one chance
  40. One mistake is all it takes
  41. One safe act can lead to another
  42. Only a fool believes safety is a waste of time
  43. Play it safe
  44. Remember its PPE not DOA (Dead on Arrival)
  45. Remember your family, they depend on your safety
  46. Risk – is it worth it?
  47. Risk is one thing you should never take
  48. Safety – a good friend to take home
  49. Safety – everyone’s full-time job
  50. Safety – it’s in your hands
  51. Safety – it’s your friend for LIFE
  52. Safety – Live with it
  53. Safety a way of life
  54. Safety awareness saves lives
  55. Safety begins with No. 1
  56. Safety begins with teamwork
  57. Safety begins with you
  58. Safety comes before schedule only in the dictionary
  59. Safety comes in a can, I can, You can, We can be safe
  60. Safety First
  61. Safety Glasses – All in favour say EYE
  62. Safety has no time out
  63. Safety in – we win
  64. Safety is a full-time job – don’t make it a part-time practice
  65. Safety is a state of mind – Accidents are an absence of mind
  66. Safety is a way of life
  67. Safety is as simple as ABC – Always Be Careful
  68. Safety is free use it generously
  69. Safety is no accident
  70. Safety is our business too
  71. Safety is our goal what’s yours?
  72. Safety is success by purpose – Not Accident
  73. Safety records don’t happen by accident
  74. Shortcuts cut life short
  75. Speak up for safety
  76. Stand up for safety
  77. Stop accidents before they stop you
  78. Stop unsafe acts now
  79. Stop! Think! Then Act!
  80. Success is no accident
  81. Team up to safety
  82. The chance taker is the accident maker
  83. The goal must be zero accidents
  84. Think positive an accident is only an attitude away
  85. Think safety and avoid unsafe acts
  86. To avoid a scene keep your workplace clean
  87. Watch your step – it could be your last
  88. We all depend on each other when it comes to safety
  89. We need you – work safely
  90. When in doubt get out
  91. When you gamble with safety you bet your life
  92. Work safely to-day and every day
  93. You can make a difference
  94. You will achieve the level of safety excellence that you demonstrate you want
  95. Your health is your greatest wealth
  96. Zero compromise towards safety
  97. Zero Hazards Zero Harm
  98. Zero in on safety
  99. Zero risk zero harm
  100. Zero tolerance on safety

Handling your Workers Comp Experience Rating in the USA

Article By:  Jason Schmerer

 Work Injury Claim

In todays present economy jobs are few and far between, with employers having to  make do with what they have.  It is important that small businesses know that even though workers compensation may be one of their highest cost in regards to company insurance, employees are your greatest asset and you still need to protect them.

Loss prevention, safety and health  in my opinion, is one of the most important issues facing small businesses and general contractors when it comes to controlling costs, reducing premium and getting contracts.

 The idea is to be proactive and not reactive and keep the injuries from happening in the first place.

So how does the Workers Comp experience rating play into your profitability?

The experience modifier, also called experience rating or X-Mod, is a formula applied to the base premium and either rewards you or penalizes you based on your specific loss experience.  It is calculated based on frequency (how many) and severity (how much) of injuries in your workplace.  That is why I said earlier, in my opinion; loss prevention is the key to helping control costs and reducing your premium.

If you are a general contractor or are bidding on a government contract it is important to know about this experience modifier.  According to the Association of General Contractors (AGC) many general contractors do not know this number and are failing to win contacts because of their high experience ratings.

The AGC says it is a pervasive issue with general contractors especially in today’s economy.  If you do not know what your rating is ask your workers compensation insurance agent and they can help you with this.

Red Cross Warning

A normal experience rating is 1.0 if you are at 1.10 then you are paying 10% more in workers compensation then you should.  At 0.90 then you are below average and paying what you should.  Small businesses want to stay under or around the 1.0 number.

Loss frequency is still the biggest part of the experience modification calculation but severity is having a bigger impact now due to the rising costs of health care.  You should ask your Agent if they or your workers compensation carrier have a loss control representative that can come out and work with you on this.  If not, call a loss prevention business and they will also be able to help.

With our economy starting to improve most small businesses are doing more with less.  Like all asset protection, keeping your employees from getting injured maximizes productivity and reduces costs by preventing an unexpected rise in your X Mod and ultimately your workers comp premium.  If a contractor has a high frequency of injuries and a high experience rating it places them at a disadvantage with competitors that don’t.

Remember, you can always ask your insurance agent for your experience rating and ask your workers compensation insurance carrier for assistance putting in controls to help you get new contracts and grow your business.

About the Author:

Jason Schmerer is the owner of Loss Prevention Solutions Southeast, LLC in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.  His company provides profit/productivity solutions, workers compensation cost control, and OSHA compliance/safety program development throughout the Southeast United States.  He can be reached at (904) 253-0704 or email:

Continual Improvement or HSE Stagnation

Part 1 of 3

By: Wayne J. Harris

Best Practice ISQEM


Continual improvement is a common term used by many safety practitioners, yet it is often not fully understood or applied. If adopted correctly it should focus on increasing the effectiveness and /or efficiency of an organisation so that it meets its corporate policy and HSE objectives.  In simple terms it’s all about “delivering a better service or product for all stakeholders, which includes employees and clients”.

Where do you start?

To tackle improvements within any organisation you need to concentrate on the corporate enablers such as organisation structure, leadership strategy, communication, human resources and management processes. Basically the key mechanics that allow departments and specific functions to work together within a cohesive organisation

The HSE improvement approach you take should lead to increased efficiency, time-saving, waste reduction, cost savings, stakeholder satisfaction and of course reduced safety and environmental incidents.

Care should be taken to not fall in to the trap of concentrating on individual department improvements. Remember a silo approach to HSE improvement will not improve business results overall, it often ends up being more of risk transfer exercise with short-term benefits and unsustainable outcomes.


HSE Facilitator

Benefits of Continual Improvement in HSE

From a business standpoint any HSE improvement strategy must produce quantifiable changes and where possible create a genuine competitive advantage for the organisation.  Now there are two main types of competitive advantages that you need to consider when proposing HSE improvements comparative, and differential.

Comparative advantage is an organisations ability to produce a product or service at a lower cost than its competitors, which gives the firm the ability to sell at a lower price than its competition or to generate a larger profit margin.

Differential advantage is created when an organisations products or services differ from its competitors and are seen as a higher standard or quality by stakeholders including clients.

Now you might at first struggle to see how HSE improvements fit into the above two competitive advantages.  Well it depends on what type of industry that you work within; they can be from engineering solutions, construction methods, technology, and management systems, to staff competency and skills levels.

What you must do is look at any proposed improvements as a value added proposition that gives a company a distinct edge over its competitors, which by default gives the ability to generate greater value for the company and of course gain buy-in from key stakeholders.


Types of Improvement – Incremental or Breakthrough

There are two general types of improvement activities that effect HSE, Incremental Improvement and Breakthrough Improvements.

Incremental Improvements are HSE changes within an organisation which tend to be more subtle and carried out over a period of time in gradual small stages, i.e. new safety training programs.   This type of improvement will often result in greater value to the organisation in the medium to long-term.

Breakthrough Improvements are what we commonly call a step change.  They tend to be made by one or more individuals who develop new theories, engineering or technology to solve problems within safety management or compliance, resulting in a major change within an organisation, i.e. HSE reporting software or a new safety management system.

Now both types of improvement are critical for an organisation to thrive in today’s economic environment, however care should be taken when deciding your approach. While breakthrough improvements can produce major gains, they are often unpredictable due to the challenges of scale and timeframe for implementing. On the other hand incremental improvements are more manageable and flexible resulting in an easier rollout.

Final Comment ISQEM

Organisations will spend considerable time and effort to achieve both incremental and breakthrough improvements. The skill is making sure that you control the changes so there is no overload on employees. Many companies have failed miserably due to poor planning and understanding of the impact changes may have on their operations.

I have briefly touched on why we need to have a continual improvement process for HSE and the considerations of having a competitive advantage.  In part 2, I will go into detail on how you can approach the HSE improvement process with clear steps to follow to ensure success. Plus a few tricks of the trade that will help give you a jump-start in the continual safety improvement process.

About the Author:  Wayne J. Harris

Wayne Harris International Health and Safety Professional

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk strategy and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.  He has a comprehensive understanding of the global risk and safety issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy.


Ergo-safety: Creating Harmony Among The Worker And The Workplace!

Guest Author: Patrick S Matira

Office Worker

We all know that a healthy worker is a productive worker.  

The health and safety of an office employee clearly falls under the responsibility of the employing organization. The organisation it self must ensure that they carry out comprehensive office ergonomic surveys.

Simply put, ergonomic surveys are a way of exposing workplace designs that tend to place employee’s under undue physical effort at work and increase their discomfort that incapacitate them to undertake work safely.

Why office ergonomic Survey /Assessments ?

Office ergonomic assessment is an area often neglected by management because they fail to perceive its direct importance to the organization.  Just like the tip of an iceberg, there are many unseen risk that an organization may face from poor office ergonomics that maybe lurking below the surface.  However with positive action  these risk can be reduced or removed totally.

Way forward!

It is imperative for organizations to begin the year 2014 with established strategies of how ergonomic related matters will be prevailed over.  It begins by carrying out assessments and ends by instituting adequate, appropriate measures and recommendations.


Responsible person accountable for occupational health and safety at an organization should design an open-ended questionnaire with questions that seek to expose discomforting working zones. The questionnaire can be distributed through emails since it is an assessment for employees who are working in offices. The answers on the questioner will expose situations that might require intervention.

Consolidate acquired information through observation. Observe awkward postures and use of office furniture and equipment. Do not end there, go further to assess computer glare, and identify hazards such as temperature and illumination.

A risk score template may be of great advantage in assessing the prevalence score of the assessed workstations. Establish adequate recommendations which should be implemented as appropriate to reduce risk.

Remember, we want workers in 2014 to commence work  in well harmonized offices, structured to promote healthy working conditions and effectiveness in employees.

After collecting and analyzing your data it may be valid to communicate findings and recommendations to other management staff. Note your recommendations may vary greatly depending on situations observed. In some cases training and awareness will suffice, whereas in some instances a total redesign of the office workplace may be the only adequate solution.

Summing up!

A person’s capability to work in an office depends on a well structured healthy and safe working environment in order for them to work at their full potential.  By failing to address ergonomic problems companies often fail to reach its set objectives and targets. So it is important that ergonomics in the office is established as a priority.

Addressing office ergonomics can drastically change business performance in a positive manner.

Guest Author: Patrick S Matira

Patrick is an experienced OHS Consultant from Zimbabwe and is a specialist in Occupational Ergonomics. He has successfully carried ergonomic assessments in various organizations within his region of operation. Contact for more information.

We all depend on each other to be safe

Safety in 2014 ISQEM

By Wayne J Harris

Many of us have already planned our objectives and approach for 2014. If you haven’t then you might be starting the New Year at a disadvantage. It’s no good running the same old approach over and over again. People need variety and they need to be engaged.

In just over 2 weeks’ time people will be returning back to work after the festive and New Year’s holiday. You need to ensure that you start communicating your health and safety objectives as soon as possible. Leave it too long and you might end up at the back of the queue for any support.

So think about your engagement strategy. What can you do to help start the New Year and generate the level of interest that will continually drive safety throughout the year?

What do employees really want?

Safety Occupation

In general most employees just want to be recognized as individuals, shown appreciation, and be given opportunities to grow and participate within a company.

Here are 4 easy low-cost ideas for engaging your employees that can have a big return on investment and get them involved in safety.

  1. Call an employee or working group into your office, just to say thank you for working safely. You will be surprised how quickly this gets around. Peer appreciation goes a long way in today’s working environment.
  2. Create an employee newsletter to share updates and recognition, but make sure you use photographs of employees at all levels. Not just senior managers blowing their own trumpets.
  3. Identify employees who are outspoken and Invite them to join a safety leadership team. People like to be recognised and by inviting them to join leadership teams you play on a great engagement tool called “Ego”. Remember people like to stand up and be recognised by others and once hooked can become successful safety ambassadors.
  4. Get workers involved in making decisions about safety as this is a great way to increase feelings of trust and pride. Their input into safety procedures, selection of PPE, and other decisions that affect their own personal safety is paramount for engagement.


Final Comment

There are many ways in which companies engage and motivate employees. The main purpose of this article is to make sure that you have it on your corporate agenda.

As the title of this article says “we depend on each other to be safe” but you need to make sure that everyone is given the opportunity to be involved.

So make sure you get everyone on the same page.  Management, supervisors, employees and the health and safety team must all have the same vision.  Everyone must understand that safety really is important to each level of the organisation, and employees’ safe well-being is what it is all about.



About the Author

Wayne Harris International Health and Safety Professional

Wayne Harris is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Working within the international arena including Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East. He has a comprehensive understanding of the global risk and safety issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy.


HSE and Quality Bloggers Submission Guidelines

Invite to all HSEQ bloggers. We are seeking well-written articles of interest on health, safety, environmental and quality (HSEQ) topics from around the world.

We are looking for how-to information, advice and guidance on virtually any topic as long as it is likely to be of interest to HSEQ professionals. All industry sectors are welcome from construction, oil and gas, manufacturing, facilities, and operational management.

HSEQ Articles to submit

To give you an idea we have are summarized below some of the key subjects;

  1. Health, Safety and Environmental Management – Culture, leadership, auditing, management systems, risk assessment, behaviour based safety, accident investigation, ergonomics, and training
  2. Quality Management – ISO standards, compliance, auditing, management systems, risk assessment, training and development, leadership
  3. Legal Updates – brief posts on new law, regulations, guidance issued in countries. Must contain a link to a regulatory government agency website or other source of additional legal information

Blog Content:

Make sure that any posts you submit are written in your own original words, as plagiarism is always frowned upon. If you do use someone else’s comments or blog posting make sure that you give reference and links back to the original author and source.

We prefer short articles around 400 to 700 words in length (about one to two single spaced pages). Longer articles will be accepted, but they will be divided into a series of shorter articles for ease of reading.

We recommend authors to include photographs or images in their articles. Authors should ensure that they have permission to use the provided images prior to being submitted. Plus credit the source of any images included with the article. We will at our discretion provide and use stock photos to accompany articles that are submitted without images to give them more impact.

Please use Microsoft Word for writing your articles and images or photographs to be in JPEG, GIF, or PNG format.

Accuracy of Information & Copyrights

Authors are responsible for checking and verifying the accuracy of information contained in articles and posts. We reserve the right to reject any article or post or to delete any article or post at any time and for any reason. Comments and articles are approved by the editor prior to posting.

Copyright for individual articles remains with the author of the article, however ISQEM reserves the right to use submitted information or to grant others permission to use published articles in other publications or electronic media provided that appropriate reference to the original author is provided.

Author Information

Author information or biographical description consisting of up 100 words may be published at the end of every article. Author information may include a link to the author’s company. Please ensure that you provide author information when submitting an article for publication.

Submitting your blog article

Articles and images should be sent as an e-mail attachment to

Information published on the ISQEM blog is provided purely for informational purposes only and is not intended to be an endorsement of a specific product or management approach or meant to be legal advice.

Safety Management ISO 45001:2016

ISO 45001: 2016

By Wayne J. Harris

The clocking is ticking as we look forward to OHSAS 18001 becoming an official ISO standard, known as ISO 45001.  The big question on everyone’s mind is whether it will deliver the results that everyone is expecting. With poor health and safety management costing around 4% of global GDP, will the new international standard’s impact have the potential to save lives, reduce accidents and improve employee morale?

Present Status

ISO formed the ISO Committee ISO/PC 283 – Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, with an objective to develop and publish an international standard for Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) based on OHSAS 18001.  The new standard will be official called ISO 45001:2016.

Now some of you may ask why they are calling it 45001, well unfortunately ISO 18001 was already taken

ISO 45001:2016  Safety File

The ISO 45001 standard will utilize the same common structure, definitions and core text being used for the present revisions of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, the environmental and quality management system standards. Which is in line with what is called “Annex SL” the rules governing the development of all ISO management standards.

This will mean the structure of the new 45001 standard shall include:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

ISO Plan for Development and Publication

ISO 45001: 2016

The standard’s publication is still some time off, and is not due to be released till October 2016.  But the end result will hopefully be an up-to-date health and safety management standard that will allow practicable and efficient integration with the likes of ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.

At the first meeting of the ISO/PC 283 committee, held in October 2013, members established an outline project plan for the development and publication of the ISO 4500 standard:

  • ISO/CD 45001 (first committee draft) to be published by May 2014;
  • ISO/DIS 45001 (first draft international standard) to be published by February 2015;
  • ISO/FDIS 45001 (final draft international standard) to be published by March 2016;
  • ISO 45001 to be published in October 2016.

Final Comment

The new international standard and its impact on industry will be closely watched by business leaders and safety professionals around the world.  If done correctly it has the potential to improve safety standards, performance and ultimately reduce accident rates. However if not managed properly it could end up being just a paper exercise and a new certificate on the wall.

One thing for sure, there will be many spin doctors selling their brand new schemes on how to comply and ensure you pass any certification process. But before you leap into the fire, take a step back and really look at the standard. It might be easier than you first think to develop and implement within your organisation.

About the Author.

Wayne J Harris Health and Safety

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems.  He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management for over 30 years.  email:

How to Write Safety Procedures

By Wayne J Harris

Writing Safety Procedure

As safety practitioners we need to understand that procedures can be the nemesis of any occupational health and safety (OHS) management system.  Getting it wrong can be the difference between success and failure in safety compliance.

Sometimes procedures are created too rigid and bureaucratic, and other times they’re non-specific and ineffectual. The point is no one wants to be under the burden of unnecessary or unusable procedures. What is needed is the right balance of simple instructions that are easy to read and comprehend.

Developing your Safety Procedures

Procedures should communicate to employees what they need to know to do their job safely. Here are 5 simple steps to follow:

  1. Justification – Ensure there is a genuine reason for writing a procedure.
  2. Identify User – Who will be the using the procedures and  the task involved.
  3. Procedure Format – Use a simple and free-flowing method.
  4. Writing Style – Make sure you write for the intended user.
  5. Document Control

Step 1: Justification

The number one rule is to make sure there’s a justifiable reason to create a procedure. It will be impossible to develop effective health and safety procedures unless you have a clear idea of what you want them to achieve.  For example your objective might be to:

  • Improvement of working practices.
  • Reduce the number and severity of incidents.
  • Provide a written record of safety instruction.
  • Improve communication.
  • Comply with legislation.
  • Comply with ISO or industry standards.

Step 2:  Identification of who will be using the Procedure and the Task involved

It is important that you identify the end-users of any procedure before you start writing. As the procedure writer, you want a clear understanding of what’s going on in as much detail as possible. So you need to gather relevant information from employees who are working on the task involved

Step 3:  Procedure Format

Once you have all the information you then need to cut it down to simple stages that the end-user can understand. You may also find that using words alone is not the best option within a procedure. Sometimes you might have to use other elements to help communicate a process.  Always consider the following options:

Flowchart – This shows a process as a simple diagram. By using a series of symbols and arrows to indicate flow and action you can outline a process and make it easy to follow.

Tip: Don’t complicate your chart with too many symbols or too much text. It should flow naturally from start to finish and be structured in a logical way.

Photographs or Diagrams – Are commonly used especially where there is difficulty in communicating due to illiteracy or use of multiple languages. The main goal of visualisation is to make it possible to absorb large amounts of data quickly.

Tip:  The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. However just make sure you check that your image or diagram is saying the right words to employees.

Step 4: Writing Style.

Remember when you write you need to consider the end-user, the person who has to read and understand your procedure. To ensure success adopt the following simple rules of writing;

  • Use plain everyday English words or local language. The use of uncommon, long or complex words or sentences should be avoided where possible.
  • Keep to short paragraphs and avoid using too many words. Just be specific enough to communicate clearly.
  • Write at the appropriate reading level.
  • Try to keep the procedure itself to a reasonable size ideally 1 to 3 pages. Any more than this and you chances of employee acceptance start to slip away.

Well-written procedures will help improve the quality of work within your organisation, reduce the number of mistakes, and help people perform complex tasks safely.

Quality Control of Safety Documents

Step 5: Document Control

When it comes to safety procedures the question of document control is always of concern. Any procedure must be clearly identifiable and traceable. Ideally try to keep it to the basics controls for example;

Page Header: Procedure number and the Title of the Procedure

Page Footer:  Date of Issue: Revision Number, and Page number i.e, “Page 1 of 2”

Some companies include a cover sheet, index and legal references etc., which are taking up space and generally not needed.  There is nothing more annoying than seeing a procedures consisting of 5 pages, yet only 2 are actually defining the process.


Many people find writing procedures a daunting task. Yet it can be a rewarding experience as it allows you to directly interface with other employees across the organisation.

Remember there are many ways to write procedures, but by following simple rules you will have a higher chance of success. Make sure the procedure is absolutely necessary. Write it in a way that’s easily understood using simple words and keep it as short as possible.

Make sure you understand “DREAD” it’s all about change.

November 5, 2013

Article by: Wayne J. Harris     – International Safety & Change Management Specialist

Now let’s imagine that you have managed to convince the CEO of the business to invest time and money in developing and implementing a new safety management system. You have trained everyone from the top management down in their new roles and responsibilities and at the same time run an extensive promotion campaign. So it should be a success (or so you may think.)

However 6 months later people have still not changed their ways of working and safety has not really progressed any further. The simple fact is that organisations don’t just change because of new OHS processes or training courses. They change because people within the organization have successfully gone thru a period of transition that we call DREAD.

DREAD Change Management ISQEMDenial, Rejection, Expectation, Acceptance, Dependency   (DREAD)

Only when the people have made their own personal transitions thru the “DREAD Zone” can an organisation truly reap the benefits of change. Some may start at the denial stage others at acceptance; however each stage must be managed and monitored constantly.

Denial: This is the first stage that must be managed with the utmost care. It’s the point of time that you have to sell to senior management the reasons a change is necessary for both business continuity and employees personal safety. It is normal for people to initially deny there is a need to change. We have all heard “we have been doing it this way for years” or “let’s wait and review next year” as the excuse not to change.

Rejection: As people are introduced to the new safety system they may resist the change actively or passively depending on their personal concerns. For the organization, this stage is the “Sink or Swim point of the change process” if this is badly managed, it may result in total failure.

The challenge is to help and support people through their individual transitions (which can at times be stressful). The easier you can make this for people, the quicker the organisation will benefit, and the more likely you are to be successful.

Expectation: If you managed to survive the first 2 stages it means people have started to believe the reasons behind the changes. This is when you have to demonstrate progress and what has been delivered by everyone. It’s the “walks the talk” stage of the whole process.

Now you may have promised certain improvements, management involvement, training for staff etc. So show people your progress and be visible on the results. One thing for sure never fabricate results. If you are behind in the programme tell people and let them know the reasons and how you will resolve it.

Acceptance: This is where you can let out a sigh of relief. You have reached the stage where you can definitely see people have adopted the new safety management system. The majority of employees are now following the procedures and people see the value it can bring to the business and most importantly to themselves as individuals.

Dependency: It’s now time to wave the corporate flag to the rest of the industry you work in. If you have managed your complete OHS change management in a structured and programmed way you will have achieved a stage of dependency. It means complete and full integration of safety has been achieved at all levels and is fully embraced as part of the culture and values of the organisation.


It’s easy to think that people will always resist change out of pure stubbornness or lack of vision. However you need to recognize that for some change takes time and people need to be supported throughout the whole process. Companies can change it just needs to be planned, introduced and managed carefully.

Tip: keep you OHS change programme simple, clear and understandably and you will greatly increase your chance of success. Remember, if you over complicate then people will naturally reject.

PDF Copy: Make sure you understand DREAD


Author: Wayne J. Harris

Wayne is a highly respected HSE (Health Safety Environment) professional with over 30 year’s international experience. Chairman of ISQEM. He has extensive business and technical acumen gained successfully undertaking director and senior level roles, specialising in corporate change management and strategy.

Email Contact:

The 3i approach to slips and trips

By Wayne J. Harris  – International Health and Safety Practitioner

Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work in many industries around the world and in many cases account for over 40% of all incidents reported. They are often the cause of major injuries resulting in long-term absence which may have a major impact on individuals and society in general.

The solutions to address slips and trips are often simple and low-cost to implement. Yet companies fail to address it correctly. By following the measures described below they will certainly help you in implementing an effective program to reduce slips and trips within your company.

3i Slip and Trip Identification

Slips Trips and Falls ISQEM




What is important is to look at slips and trips as a very distinct hazard identification process that you need to tackle very carefully. The assessment process does not need to be complex or quantifiable with score ratings that most people never understand. It needs be what we call a very simple 3i approach.

  1. Identify the slip trip hazards
  2. Identify who will be at risk,
  3. Identify the appropriate control measures

Identify the hazards in your workplace that may lead to slip or trip injuries and who will be at risk. Then decide on suitable and effective control measures which will prevent accidents occurring.  Just remember do not use generic assessments in your decision-making process as they quite often fail to address real local issues.

Prevention Methods to Prevent Slips and Trips

ISQEM Hierarchy of hazard controls

Once you have completed the 3i assessment you may need to implement control measures and in addition communicate to employees what is required of them as individuals at work.

For instance you might have identified power cables from hand power tools are the main cause of tripping incidents. So a simple safety control measure could be adopting the use of battery-powered tools and eliminating the use of cables. This would result in total removal of the hazard and risk.

One prevalent cause of slips and trips is wet or slippery floor surfaces in office buildings.  Now this may need to be professional assessed as to the cause of the slipperiness and treated accordingly. For example the use of non-slip cleaning materials or water catchment mats at main entrances to the office building.

Communication and Awareness

Communication ISQEM

There are many methods that you can use to communicate including, toolbox or safety briefings, safety posters, to lessons learnt from incidents that may have taken place. The method you use to maintain awareness will depend on workplace location, your employees and others who may be at risk. Just make sure that you review regularly and change and adapt your control measures as necessary.

Remember any slips and trips campaign you run needs to be a long-term strategy in order to maintain awareness. If you tackle this correctly you will drastically reduce your incident rates and insurance compensation payments


Click link for PDF Copy: The 3i approach to Slips and Trips


About the Author.

Wayne J Harris Health and Safety

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems.  He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management for over 30 years.



Sometimes you just have to stop.

By: Wayne J. Harris – International Health and Safety Practitioner


How often do we see people walk by unsafe acts or conditions without saying a word? Well it might be more prevalent than you imagine.

People will always have different attitudes towards safety and how much risk they are willing to accept.  However at any point of time you might find yourself in a situation where you personally have to take direct intervention to stop an unsafe act taking place.

So what do you do, when you have to tell someone that you think they are working unsafely, or they are not following safety procedures for the job. Now this could be an employee or contractor, so regardless of whom the individual maybe you still have to intervene.

Here are my 4 tips to help you address unsafe acts and open up discussion with people:

1. Take immediate Stop action.

If the situation you’re presented with is putting someone in immediate danger, then you need to find a way to stop the job as quickly and safely as possible and talk about what you’ve seen.

2.  Take a positive approach

The best way to approach anyone is to be friendly and open. When opening up the discussion start with why you stopped them working. For example, “Hi, sorry about stopping you, I just wanted to have a chat about the job you’re doing because I’m worried that you might get injured”.  By taking a more personal interest approach the individual concerned will be less defensive and open to talk.

The incorrect approach would be “Hey you stop. What are you doing, that’s wrong you are going to cause an accident”. By taking this line you would instantly create a barrier between you and individual concerned.  This approach will definitely not make a person open to change.

3. Ask open questions

Everyone likes to feel they are appreciated, so ask the individual about their job and what they do.  By asking simple questions it will open up the individual and result in a more open and effective discussion. Plus it helps you find out more about the other person’s point of view and why they work a certain way.

4. Explain a way of working safely

Having opened up a dialogue this puts you in a position of control in steering the conversation around to solutions.  Where possible try to get the individual to work out their own ideas to make things safe.  One tip is try to avoid continuously using the word safety when you coming up with solutions.  It is a lot easier to get people to buy-in if you talk more about their job approach.

Final Note

I would like to end this article with a quote from a great British politician and campaigner “William Wilberforce” which I feel says it all.

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce ISQEM

  Born August 24, 1759   Died July 29, 1833

William Wilberforce was a British MP, a committed Christian and a vanguard in the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. He campaigned all his life, despite opposition and ill-health and championed reform in many areas of society. He was founder of the Church Mission Society and what would later come to be known as the RSPCA.

3 simple ways to get management involved in creating a safety culture

Time to get involved in Safety ISQEM

By; Wayne J Harris

Quite often organisations struggle to get the safety message across via traditional methods such as employee OHS inductions and safety briefings.  Yet people continue to pursue these methods regardless, mainly because it is still seen as accepted practice within the occupational health and safety profession.

The question we should be asking is “what can we do to get management directly involved in safety”?  There is no doubt there is a need to get participation from all levels of management, especially if you want to establish a positive safety culture

The problem is unless you try various communication strategies you will struggle to get any real involvement. If you’re committed to creating a value driven safety culture with an organisation it is critical that you plan your approach using all available resources internal or external.

So what does Safety Culture mean?

We often use the generic term “Safety Culture”, however when we ask a manager to describe what this means they struggle to come up with an answer.  Now there are many definitions used by people and who is to say what is right or what is wrong.  In 2008 ISQEM created a common definition of “Safety Culture”, which is easily understood within any organisation.

Safety Culture – is the attitude, behaviours, risk perception and values demonstrated by individuals or shared amongst employees within an organisation in relation to awareness and compliance to internal safety standards and processes.

3 Easy ways to get managers involved

Here are 3 simple but extremely effective ways to help raise awareness amongst managers and gain significant input into generating a safety culture.

1. Mentoring

Mentoring is a win-win solution for everyone concerned: the employee, the mentor, and the company.  Utilisation of both internal and external mentors is often viewed as the best approach. Ideally try to get on board a senior OHS practitioner who works at a senior level so they have the credibility and professional branding to gain managers acceptance.

2. Establish you own Safety Culture Events

 This has to be one of the best ways to raise safety awareness and involve various members of your management and supervisory staff.   By establishing a schedule of creative events you can maintain momentum and at the same time get non-safety practitioners to deliver key safety messages. Where possible include short presentations by a client, guest speaker, or even one of your equipment suppliers.

 3. Using Employees to share knowledge gained from External Events

Try and get managers to attend external safety workshops or conferences and establish a company policy that requires them to develop and deliver an internal training or briefing session from lessons learnt from the event. It is highly cost-effective way of gaining value from people attending external events and allows the organisation to disseminate new ideas, and discuss industry trends.

This is an effective management development opportunity because it introduces new ideas to your organization and helps raise safety perceptions. The positive flip side to this is that the individual develop their own personal presentation and communication skills by presenting to other colleagues.


In conclusion if you want to seriously raise the bar within your organisation you need to market and communicate in various ways. It can be simple uncomplicated ways as mentioned above than create a positive difference that will be appreciated by employees.

One thing for sure, failing to use your management team will put your organisations safety culture in jeopardy.  So take a step back and think how you are trying to drive safety, be daring in your ways of thinking and try something different.  You might be surprised at what can be achieved.

Author; Wayne J. Harris

How to conduct workplace health and safety inspections

By: Rick Lewis

safety inspectors ISQEM





One of the fundamental tasks to help maintain or improve health and safety is by undertaking routine inspections of a workplace. It gives the opportunity to identify possible hazards and risk in the working environment and the chance to correct any deficiencies before an incident occurs.

The question often asked is “are we doing inspections to improve safety, or are we merely doing them to demonstrate compliance with legislation”?  Unfortunately it is often seen by many people as being more of a tick box exercise and we need to change their perception of what health and safety inspections can do.

 So what is the purpose of an inspection?

The purpose of a health and safety inspection is very clear and simple, that is to:

  • identify potential health or safety hazards
  • assess the current status of safety in the workplace;
  • look for opportunities to help improve on current operational procedures
  • provide feedback to employees on good safety practices;
  • raise awareness of health and safety with employees
  • demonstrate visible management and supervisor commitment to safety standards

When conducted correctly, safety inspections can definitely promote efficiency and quality improvements within a working environment, which relates to an increase in profitability.

So what should we do?

Develop a simple inspection checklist appropriate to your working environment.  This helps you to focus on specific areas during your inspection. A checklist will also allow you to compare results from other inspectors and identify common trends.

Let people know why you doing an inspection. Nobody wants to feel they are being spied on. So communicate that the inspection is an improvement process to help maintain the employee’s personal safety whilst at work. Talk to people during your inspection and ask open and friendly questions.

Make sure people who will be conducting inspections are trained properly on hazard and risk identification. Too often we see organisations issue a checklist to their supervisors or managers with no instruction on how to conduct a walk around safety inspection.

Use the results of any inspection to communicate safety awareness and discuss any good practices. Discuss in safety toolbox talks and meetings or even post improvement ideas on notice boards. Whatever means you use make sure it’s visible so employees see an actual outcome.

Engage everyone in the inspection process.  Employee buy-in is critical to the success of any workplace health and safety regime. Where possible have other people join you whilst carrying out an inspection, you nether know they might end up being your safety ambassador.

Allocate adequate and dedicated time to conduct the inspection and plan your schedule based on the workplace risk profile.

So by conducting health and safety inspections we can ultimately help to keep our working environment hazard free and more importantly our employees and other safe from harm.

By Rick Lewis

ISQEM blog contributor

Be a Safety Zombie – Or make a change to survive



If you still believe the role of a safety practitioner is all about setting up management systems, conducting training and monitoring compliance etc. think again.   No longer can safety practitioners fall back on regulations or industry norms as justification for their present roles.

Organisations around the world cannot always afford to pay for standalone specialism.  If safety people want to continue to work in the long-term they must change and become business focussed or they may not survive.

Many businesses are now facing a need for  urgent change and the roles of individuals are being closely looked at.  No one wants to continue to spend money on a resource which they see as a financial drain and not adding visible or quantifiable returns on investment.

People are now expected to be multi-skilled and able to adapt to different roles.  Can we with any confidence stand up and say as Safety practitioners that we have adapted to the challenges of future change?   Or are we just walking around like zombies waiting for all to end with no future chance of resurrection?

Let’s look at things from an angle of efficiency and lean management.  If we were running a company with a small safety team of 3 or 4 people and looking at reducing cost the following might be a simple approach that many would take;

  • Appoint a single Safety Practitioner as the Corporate Advisor. (Make the remainder of the safety team redundant)
  • Have management and supervisory staff take on direct responsibility and accountability for inspections and monitoring. (Multi-Tasking)
  • Training reduced  to online and mobile phone applications (Use of Technology)

The first response by many might be “not in my industry”. Well it’s already happening in many companies, and by putting our heads in the sand will not make it disappear. So it’s time to wake up and face the truth.

So what can you do?

Now is the time to re-evaluate your skill set and decide what you want your future to be.  Take a close look at your organisation and find out what are the main drivers for efficiency and profitability.  If you don’t know the basics, you can’t plan for your own survival. You need to evaluate and adapt by;

  • Mapping out your own strengths and weaknesses and develop a personal improvement plan.
  • Identifying key areas that you can assimilate and start to develop the appropriate skills and knowledge.
  • Building an internal and external network and let people know what you can contribute to a business besides safety knowledge.

There are many other things that need to be done to survive in today’s commercial world.  Hopefully the above has given you some food for thought and will help you combat any future challenges you may encounter in your career.   


So remember; Evaluate, Adapt and Survive.


About the Author:  Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems.  He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management for over 30 years.

Experience gained in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Chairman of ISQEM, and a Director of the World Safety Organization (WSO) UN-NGO.




Are you just waiting to fail due to poor management?

ISQEM Article

Friday afternoon 5:30 pm.  All of a sudden “ping” a new email arrives in your inbox.  Yes it’s another request from a senior manager asking for that urgent safety document to be produced for Monday morning.




Now we have all been there before, the person who is sending the request cannot manage their workload effectively and by default their actions are now creating both stress and frustration for you and your team. This is because many managers have difficulty in allocating sufficient time to undertake key tasks and inadvertently they are setting the company and themselves up for failure.

If we look at an individual who has poor management skills they can easily lose several weeks of productive time per year. However if we now multiple the time lost by others who are directly or indirectly impacted the financial cost to a business can be substantial. Yet often this impact to business efficiency is overlooked and not covered as part of routine risk management.

Due to the changes in today’s global business environment and the economic restraints placed on organisations we need to take a stronger stance on how employees work. By adopting mandatory workplace ethics it is possible to make changes that will add value and maintain productivity.  So the question is what are the failure indicators we should be looking for? 

Common risk indicators of poor management:

There is a simple way to check if you or any of your team is affected by poor management. If any of the following risk indicators are common practice within your organisation then you definitely need to take urgent action.

 Email Control:  (Everyone wants to be the new fastest gun in the west)

  • Management staff has a tendency to constantly check emails or text messages both on a PC and their mobile, can’t avoid opening emails as soon as they arrive.
  • Spend excessive time on writing emails and circulating to unnecessary recipients.
  • Regularly changes the subject matter of an email into a running random discussion.
  • Circulate unclear or inadequate instructions by email.
  • People believe evidence of productivity or efficiency is based on email generation.

Poor Meeting Ethics (I’m just here for the coffee)

  • Meeting are often requested involving large numbers of participants with few actually adding inputs or even needing to attend.
  • Meetings regularly do not start or finish on time.
  • The meeting is not adding any measurable value to the organisation.
  • Participants always checking and using mobiles in meetings, the biggest sign of poor management control and lack of concentration by a meeting attendee. (Also viewed as disrespectful to meeting host)

Group Conference Calls (Mute and I will Forget)

  • Lack of focus or concentration on the subject matter by attendees.
  • Attendees undertake other task whilst on the conference call which are unrelated, i.e. answering emails or reading documents. Or worse still surfing the internet.
  • Mute and Forget.  This is where people put the line on mute and get involved in other side-line conversations.
  • Fail to make notes to ensure delivery of any actions or task discussed during the conference call.

Lack of leadership or Management Control (Plan what Plan)

  • Lack of a coherent approach to manage or lead is most probable the top reason for poor management. If there is no agreed plan or approach to your organisations management style then disaster is guaranteed to be just waiting around the corner.
  • Departments or specific functions are working in silo mode, not to a common goal or timeline.

Criss-Cross Approach (The left hand doesn’t know what the right hands doing)

  • Multiple people or departments getting involved in areas beyond their scope and /or knowledge
  • Different People requesting the same or similar task for someone to complete. This is what we call the criss-cross approach with the excessive use of multiple resources to deliver the same results.
  • Overstepping or missing out people in lines of communication, responsibility or authority.
  • People, who jump into management areas that they do not fully understand and make irrelevant comments. Causing confusion or mistrust between departments or functional areas of the business.


I have only just touched on a few of the common risk failure indicators. If a company adopts and practices strong management ethics they are more likely to be successful. The positive results will mean that employees are more productive, less stressed, inspired and motivated to work within a company.  It’s all about focusing on identifying your basic day to day problems and understanding what is required to be done in order to minimise loss of time and valuable resources 

Download PDF Copy:  Are you just waiting to fail due to poor management

Risk management and success goes hand in hand. So make sure you know your organisational risk indicators

Safety Management Acronyms

In many countries and even within specific industries sectors there are distinct acronyms connected and adopted within safety management.  However from an international perspective, there is a tendency to use common acronyms in order to align safety terminology and management approach.   

Below are some common acronyms that we can often come across in industries from construction, facilities, manufacturing and office environments.

JSA         Job Safety Analysis

OHSMS Occupational Health and Safety Management System

OSP        Operational Safety Procedure

PPE        Personal Protective Equipment

PTW       Permit to Work

QRA       Quantified Risk Assessment

RA          Risk Assessment

RA          Risk Analysis

RSA        Risk Safety Analysis

SHEM    Safety Health Environmental Management

SHEQM  Safety Health Environment Quality Manual

 Accident / Incident Data Statistical Acronyms

In addition acronyms are also commonly used in collating accident and incident data, or statistical formulas.  For example:

LTA         Lost Time Accident

LTAR      Lost Time Accident Rate

LTFR       Lost Time Frequency Rate

LTI          Lost Time Injury

LTIFR     Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate

LTIR        Lost Time Injury Rate

LTISR     Lost Time Injury Severity Rate

RMI        Reportable Medical Incident

MTC       Medical Treatment Case

NM        Near Miss

As we can see from the above there are numerous acronyms that can be used, many of which can also cause confusion with both safety and no-safety practitioners.  So in order to communicate effectively it is vital that you keep the use of acronyms to a minimum within any company.

Nether go down the path of creating acronyms for the sake of it, all it will do is confuse and devalue what you are trying to communicate.  From an operational point of view it is always advisable to keep to your industry norms.  

Remember sometimes the meaning of an acronym can change due to societal usage for example;  BFF used to be well known as standing for “Business Financial Forecast” nowadays it’s more commonly associated with the term “Best Friends Forever” due to the world of mobile texting.  So beware any acronym you use today maybe turnout to have a totally different meaning in the future.

I have attached below as a PDF document  download , a copy of a ISQEM course handout which contains a full list of 75 safety management and 48 accident /incident acronyms . 

ISQEM Safety Management Acronyms Handout No 8

What would you like to see discussed on a Safety, Quality, and Environmental blog ?

Safety Quality Environmental Blog







Sometimes just getting the right mix of safety, quality or environmental subjects on to a blog is a challenge for people. So the question is what you like to see, and what would inspire you to follow and read the articles or papers that are posted on this blog.

Now we all know that safety, quality or environment issues are dependent on the type of business you may be running or involved in. However each  industry has different consequences if you’re doing business with companies (B2B) or within the consumer market (B2C) particularly where your customers include members of the public, for instance tourism, entertainment or shopping malls etc.

So we can see that general safety, quality and environmental topics we can promote and discuss are vast in subject matter and equal as diverse in industry sectors. The challenges that are faced by many OHS or HSE blogs are either to concentrate on a specific industry typically construction or mining, or delve into quite unique and trade orientated skills sets.

What we have decided is that the best approach is to split our blog into several clear sectors that can be referenced by people who visit so they can find and read relevant articles that have been posted.

The Top 10 Headings

  1. Leadership and Management Skills
  2. Construction Safety
  3. Mining Safety
  4. Manufacturing and Industrial
  5. Office Safety
  6. Oil and Gas Industry
  7. Building / Facilities Management
  8. Training
  9. Presentations
  10. Weird and Wonderful

What we hope to accomplish by presenting a blog in this format is to cultivate the knowledge and experiences of our contributors and writer’s. This allows us to share with the occupational health and safety, quality and environmental professional community and the general public. Plus it will generate a true library and resource of quality articles and documents.

One of the key rules that have to be followed is that the material must pass a quality check on its suitability to be included within a blog. From a quality control approach we can ensure that items posted are of the standards expected of readers and online followers.  The following 3 rules apply to every item submitted by a blogger:

  1. It must be a unique article, report, document or presentation never published before online.
  2. We only accept items that are relevant to the safety, quality or environmental professions and can assist in knowledge sharing or development of personal management skills
  3. Any document must be at least 400 words and written in the English language.

Now we know that authors are the success and failure of any blog. So we welcome interesting and experienced bloggers to submit their articles for publishing to  and it will be reviewed and if acceptable we will inform you. Just to make sure that people are credited we will be adding a free writers introduction page including a link back to their own website so they have exposure in the world of safety, quality and environment management.

The ISQEM blog will be updated into the new format over the next week, so make sure you visit to see the changes.

We still need to learn from Near-miss Incidents

Any near-miss incident that occurs in the workplace should be viewed as a warning or an indication that something is wrong.  Now a near-miss can be many things to different people, what we are looking at is those that can end up as personal injuries or damage to machinery and equipment.

Lets consider a typical and very simple accident of an office worker who slips on spilt coffee in the canteen; which results in the worker falling onto their leg and fracturing their ankle.  Now this can be avoided if a near-miss situation is reported and acted upon before things can escalated to the next level of failure.

Now imagine how many times people walk pass things like spilt water on the floor. It’s fairly certain that the majority of people do nothing about the situation. It’s like they are walking by with blinkers on and pretending it has nothing to do with them.

In today’s society many people have attended safety training either in inductions or more specialist areas. So there really is no excuse for not reporting hazards, which can result in near-misses or actual accidents.

So how can we turn a near-miss event into a positive contribution to accident prevention?  First, we need to recognize these types of events as a serious warning. Next, we must report and correct the situation or remove the hazard that presents a potential near-miss.  One thing for sure we must always strive to prevent any repeats of hazards and near-miss events ever arising again in the workplace environment.

By promoting and communicating a constant safety awareness among all levels of staff a company can create a safety culture which encourages the reporting of near-misses and also a trust in that reported problems or defects will be rectified.  If we ignore to act then it will be like sitting in your office waiting for a volcano to erupt, not knowing when or what will happen when it does.

So remember if you see a hazard, report it before an accident takes place

Strategic Safety Management – Part 2

ISQEM Safety Strategy Course

When it comes to strategic planning for safety it is not uncommon to find people floundering due to lack of understanding or knowledge of strategic safety management. The main purpose of this document is to keep things as uncomplicated as possible and present it in an easy to understand “How to” format rather than a PhD paper on corporate strategy in the 21st century.

One thing for sure you must be able to justify the ROI (return on investment).

The Strategy Hierarchy

Before we go into any detail we need to understand there can be several levels of safety strategy that can apply within an organisation depending on their size, geographical presence, and organisational structure.  Strategies can be formulated and implemented at three different levels:

Level 1: Corporate Safety Strategy

The corporate safety strategy is the highest level as it applies to all parts of the organisation. The strategy is concerned with high level safety governance and stakeholder engagement. In addition the corporate level is responsible for creating the overall safety vision, values, goals and safety policies of the business and financially supports the corresponding strategies of the organisation.

Level 2: Business Safety Strategy  

This is where the main focus is on developing appropriate safety strategy plans by defining the tactical approach to ensure advantage or gain within the industry.  The difference from a corporate safety strategy is that it may be purely focused on either a single or multiple business units within an organisation.  Budget control is often forecast and managed at this level to enable key performance indicators (KPI’s) to be established to measure the ROI.

Level 3: Operational Safety Strategy

From a safety strategy view point this level is often considered the key foundation stone behind the success of higher tiered corporate and business strategies.  The operational safety strategy is directly dealing with operational activities. Operational level strategies apply across departments such as finance, marketing, human resources, operations, manufacturing, and of course the safety department. The prominence is given to short and medium term safety plans, and is limited to the day –to-day sphere of activity under each department’s operational responsibility.

 So how do we go about setting up a Safety Strategy?

In today’s tight commercial environment we have to be both innovative and dynamic.  Strategy is a way of thinking, not just a safety management procedure or a set of policies to rollout every two or three years.  To succeed a strategy must be financially viable, planned, implemented, managed, operationally evaluated, and when needed revised.

Key steps in formulating your Strategy Approach

1. Creating Strategic Alliances

Before you even start on setting a safety strategy you will need to know and understand your organisation’s main corporate strategy for running and growing the business.   By aligning with other strategies you will be in a strong position to justify financial support as well as senior management buy-in.  Remember it’s about creating strategic alliances and ensuring a return on investment (ROI). Get this right and your chances of success are greatly increased.

2. Identify the Value Added Benefits

Any safety strategy must be able to demonstrate a return on investment, including business growth and value added opportunities that will contribute to the various stakeholders within your organisation. If your safety strategy is conceived around sound risk management principals it can place your organisation ahead of the competition as a market leader in the industry.

3. Identification and Utilisation of Resources

The importance of aligning your strategy to the required resources cannot be overstated. There are many great ideas that have failed due to poor resource allocation and inadequate planning. If you are to succeed you have to consider two aspects of resource allocation:

  • Strategy Implementation Resources
  • On-going Management Resources

Identifying the appropriate resources to implement and maintain you safety strategy.  Quite often we see people propose safety strategies based purely on direct cost and they forget the peripheral on-going cost involved in manpower, training etc. Whatever resources you decide upon have to be based on sound analytics and market realities, otherwise you might end up going cap in hand asking for more money.

4. Identify where you want to be  in the future as an organisation

This element of strategic planning is vital as you have to focus on the market sectors you are working within including; geographical locations (local and international), workforce culture, size, organisational structure, technology, and political societal requirements.  The safety strategy should reflect a clear understanding of where you want to be and how you will achieve the KPI’s and ROI.  Remember a one size fits all safety strategy rarely works, so be ready to adapt and improvise where necessary, especially if operating on an international basis.

5. Set the standards and become an industry leader.

Never fall into the trap of following everyone else’s ideas, trends or gimmicks, as it is often viewed as the “nail in the coffin” when it comes to safety strategies.  At first glance it might look like you playing it safe by following what everyone else is doing, but in reality you may not achieve very much.

We have to remember if the safety strategy is to be viable to any organisation it’s got to be custom made or else you will place limitations on both implementation and compliance.  The strategy should be able to meet present and future demands and be formulated accordingly.

6. Getting commitment and buy-in.

Make sure your strategy can be easily understood and avoid technical jargon. Involve the team who will deliver the plan from the offset in order to get their full commitment.  You need to take into confidence the department heads during your planning stage. Try where possible to take on board their views, and where feasible implement them within your strategy plan.  By encouraging involvement of department heads and senior management at the planning stage it will naturally ensure ownership and constructive support during implementation.

So far we have covered the general points of creating a strategy.  We know that it is a process that requires more than a 3 or 4 page report suggesting safety ideas for improvement. It is actually aligned with your organisation’s overall corporate strategy and can apply at different levels.

I have mentioned many times about a safety strategy being a ROI and financial viable. The reason for this is should be obvious.  All companies need to make a profit and every penny you spend on your strategy has to be recovered.   If you start by following the above you will definitely be on the right road to success.

In Part 3, (yes there is still one more paper to go before I have finished)   I will be going through developing a strategy proposal report and setting a budget.  In addition I will be sharing with you several templates that you can adapt and use for your safety strategy.


PDF Copy of Article: 

Strategic Safety Management Part 1

Strategic Safety Management Part 2


About the Author:  Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management.

Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Chairman of ISQEM, and a Director of the World Safety Organization (WSO) UN-NGO.


So you want to be Safety Blogger

safety blogger ISQEM

01 September 2013

Nowadays anybody can establish and run a safety blog on the internet. There has definitely been an increase over the last 3 to 5 years for businesses and private bloggers to use the internet to promote themselves, share experiences, and build relationships. But what exactly makes an interesting safety blog post? Let us take a look at some general aspects that will help people make a great blog post.

Be Original in you subject matter

Now we all know that originality is the holy grail of blogging and in safety blogs that is without doubt the most important aspect of any post. It is evident that everyone needs to read up and research a topic before posting content in a blog. Although a very informal tone is often used for writing safety blogs, one still needs to ensure that the posts are professional written and based on good safety research or personal work based experiences. Remember the main reasons people visit safety blogs is to learn new techniques or explore different approaches to managing health and safety.

Content of a Safety Blog Posting

We have all heard it many times that content is King. Your blog site depends on readers returning and promoting your site for you, so every effort should be made to make the safety post as interesting and engaging as possible. When it comes to blog subjects it’s best to keep off any controversy, especially the political, religious or moral subject matters. Remember we are talking about safety blogs so no need to wind people up or make personal attacks.

What Language should you use?

Blogs can be written in any language but still the most common used language on the Internet and in the business world remains English. Therefore, the emphasis is not in terms of which language is suitable for writing the safety blog but rather in terms of using simple everyday English words. Remember 400 – 700 words are ideal for a blog posting.


The heart and soul of a safety blog comes down to the way it is presented. It is important to attract your readers and keep their attention. The first thing they will notice is you post title, so make sure it is an attention grabber. Also in order to make a good presentation the post should be readable and therefore using the right font style and size is vital. In addition consider the use of safety graphics or images which can help emphasize the topic of the post.

Submitting you Safety Posting

Make sure that any posts you submit to sites are written in your own words, as plagiarism is always frowned upon. If you do use someone else’s comments or blog posting always make sure that you give reference and links back to the original author.


Keep on blogging everyone.

Strategic Safety Management – Part: One

ISQEM article on Strategic Safety Management

Strategic management is often misunderstood when it comes to safety. We have to accept that an organization operates in a dynamic marketplace with legislation, competitors, consumers, technology, and local social economic factors affecting them on a day to day basis.

In order for the safety professional to get buy-in they must be able to demonstrate that any proposed changes will have a tangible benefit and contribute to the businesses overall success and profitability.

Today’s business executives need to be able to justify any revenue expenditure in order to be competitive in the marketplace. Yet, many safety people still fail to convince their companies that the safety inputs can add true revenue potential?

Why Organisations get it wrong (The 7 deadly sins)

One of the biggest errors made by organisations is the failure to approach safety in line with other business management practices. If we look at the typical mistakes which happen in organisations when it comes to developing their overall safety strategy:

1. The process tends to be primarily led, driven and managed by HSE staff, which means there will be an instant obstacle to any buy-in from other functional departments.

2. HSE has not been quantified within a financial budget for medium to long term growth. Lack of analysis to define real costing’s from implementation, maintenance, to profitability, with no financial indicators. Any change will be difficult to effectively manage or measure.

3. No consideration given to stakeholder requirements for business efficiency or maintainability. Justification for change is mainly focused on incident prevention and compensation, difficult to justify if there are very few or no incidents or claims occurring.

4. Purchasing off the shelve HSE programmes or software, then trying to adapt the organisation to fit the system. Off the shelve systems often turn out to be dysfunctional and fail to meet the overall culture and style of management adopted with a company, often seen as a silo management practice add-on

5. Lack of a clear strategy plan to make the change in line with other business requirements. Quite often they are developed and rolled out more like a high-level idea, and lack any real planning or analysis. Calling something a strategic plan doesn’t make it one if it has not been done properly.

6. HSE personnel are often not involved in other strategy decisions of the organisation or its business objectives, which often means a direct miss-alignment in the main business strategy or growth. There is no such thing as a standalone function within a company.

7. Poor communication and consultation with appropriate functional specialist or departments. It’s no good developing a strategic plan, and then keeping it secret within a small group of people. Every tactical action supporting the strategic objectives needs to be included in an overall communication plan so that the strategy is reinforced. The failure to communicate the vision and strategic objectives to other stakeholders is a disaster just waiting to happen.

If any of the above apply to your organisation, then ultimately you’re highly likely to fail in delivering a real corporate strategy that will make any sustainable and financially beneficial improvements.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen companies spend money on making changes to their systems, training of staff etc., just to find out that things have not really changed. Strategic Safety Management requires a comprehensive examination of all major components of management strategy and their integration in order to be successful.

In my next article I will expand into how you can develop a safety strategy that can help you succeed in gaining support from your top management and more importantly a higher chance of success. One thing for sure, there is no magic solution, but you can reduce the risk of failure by utilising appropriate management tools to create a cohesive safety vision within the context of an effective organisational business strategy.

Remember the safety profession are viewed as advisors, so we need to act accordingly and ensure organisations are given the best advice and guidance to enable them to achieve their vision and ultimate objectives.

About the Author: Wayne J Harris
Wayne J Harris  Health and Safety

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management.

Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Chairman of ISQEM, and a Director of the World Safety Organization (WSO) UN-NGO.

We need to adapt our training to improve health and safety by adopting new initiatives

ISQEM safety training

Is it not time that we start to change how we approach health and safety training, in order to make it more viable to businesses?

We all know that In financial hard times, one of the first to be identified in a cost-cutting exercise is the safety training functions across all industry’s. Regardless of legal requirements many companies will still take a calculated gamble and try to avoid as much as possible putting any of their staff on safety training courses.

While a large number of national and international blue-chip organisation have fully integrated training programmes for their staff, this normally falls by the wayside due to staff reductions and the need to reduce no-productive activities. This is a short-sighted approach that normally ends up with negative repercussions in the medium to long-term future of a business.

ISQEM launched an initiative called SEP to help improve the efficiency of health and safety training and ultimately improve productivity and performance of stakeholders including suppliers, manufacturers, and subcontractors. By adopting efficient lean management practices into safety training that can be delivered in a cost effect manner, but in addition help stream line an operational task to bring value added business improvements and functional task benefits.

By adopting a training initiative such as the Safety Efficiency Programme (SEP) which can provide an organisation with a structured lean management approach to ensuring health and safety training actually meets all stakeholders requirements. We see this programme as a world-class initiative and an integral part of ISQEM long-term strategy. That can also support and benefit companies worldwide who are looking for best value and demonstrable commitment to safety with continual improvement and logical skills development of employees.

Health and safety compliance and performance has to be a value and benefit for everyone regardless of what industry people may work in, from construction, offices to building and facilities management. Incident prevention must be maintained and workers must receive the right training, guidance and support to complete their work safely.

Health and safety training and business efficiency has to be the top 2 critical issues for everyone in industry today

There is no doubt that when an organisation is committed to investing in training they look for a sustainable collaborative strategy that works from top to bottom, creating benefits across the whole business environment. ISQEM have made a considerable financial and resource investment for ensuring the SEP scheme meets demands of present industry requirements for cost savings,practicability, on-going improvement, and ease of use. So if you looking at saving both time and money the SEP initiative can help you contribute to the long-term future of your business.

One thing for sure the future of staff training in particular health and safety needs to change now, if it is to combat the challenges of both industry and employee demands and expectations.

Dinosaur or Safety Innovator

Safety Dinosaur,

By Wayne J Harris

In several of my previous articles I opened up the question of leadership and being creative.

If there is one tip I would like to stress to everyone, it would be not to jump on the band wagon of using the same old schemes that have kept popping up over the years. Yes I’m talking about things such as; Zero Harm, Zero Preventable Injuries and that old chestnut from the 1970’s “Zero Damage Zero Injury”. All these buzzwords have been around for over 30 years, and yet people still think they will be the answer to all their problems.

I wonder what a board of directors would think if the Chief Financial Officer (CF0) stood up at a board meeting and said, ‘I have a fantastic new idea on how to improve our turnover’. Then with great enthusiasm, announced the scheme is called “Let’s make Money” or “Only profit not Loss”.

To make sure everyone knows about the scheme, the CFO launches a poster campaign, awards scheme and staff briefing sessions etc. Now, do you think that everyone in the company will all of a sudden start to change how they work?

As soon as people start to separate any part of business management into schemes you are on a very bumpy and slow road to minimal compliance. One of the comments I always make is “I do not use the word Safety to try and make people and companies change”. The approach I take is about working differently and efficiently, which ultimately ends up with improved performance.

So what about this for an idea lets drop the title of safety and those poisoned acronyms of HSE, EHS OHS, and why not see if we can get people to accept the basic principles of completing a job or task correctly. Why not have a simple work guideline which states how to do a job, rather than a ream of shelve filling safety procedures, or OHS guidelines.

Now I know many will read this article and jump to the first point that safety is a legal obligation, or without safety accidents will only increase. But this is not what I’m raising here; it’s about changing our approach in helping people to work efficiently, and by default achieving an improved safety outcome.

So do we really need to have a slogan or crazy scheme to make things happen, I would say no we do not? So thinking caps on everyone, maybe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or do we just keep on acting like dinosaurs and hope that the profession survives to the next ice age.


Safety Images I hope you enjoy and use in spreading the safety message

More images will be added in the next few days. Hope you enjoy using them.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know

safety devil 3

By; Wayne J. Harris

Since its Sunday, I thought I would put a few words together to make people think a little bit differently when then go back to work.

If we look at how many people work on a day-to-day basis it is often geared around a mundane sequence of actions and events. So it’s no surprise that complacency strikes and incidents will eventually start to occur. Let’s take a very simple reality check on what tends to happen. If someone is used to working the same way over a period of time they fall into a comfort zone. The individual is more concerned with just getting by and completing the day’s work. In their mind they think why rock the boat, no one listens and no one really cares.

Now before anyone comes back with all the numerous sociological theories on mankind and the working environment, I did say let’s look at it from a simple reality check. So let’s just look at our own safety profession.

Having spoken to many safety people over the last 30 years, I’m still amazed how many tell me their company practices and systems don’t work or their company is dysfunctional. Yet they are either frightened to raise the issue for reasons such as lack of confidence in their own assumptions, or fear of losing a job. Some people would rather choose to just carry-on with familiar old practices rather than face an unknown situation, or as many would say “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know”

If you’re working in the safety profession you often have to choose between working with established and familiar safety practices with limited results or, having to make major changes to how the company operates. So, how would you approach your senior management and tell them what they have been doing for many years is not working?

Remember when you were interviewed for a job, the company most probably said something along the lines of; we want safety to be our number one priority, or management will support you 100%. So what could possibly go wrong? Well let’s put these simple statements into perspective.

“Safety is a Priority” Well in reality safety is not the first priority. It is survival of the business which comes first. If you do not understand and accept this then you will fail.

“Management support” The term management support does not mean that you will be granted absolute power to make change. It means support will be given if what you propose is financial and operationally viable.

If we now think about these two definitions what we are talking about is business efficiency and productivity. It is a balance of good management practices and organisational control, of which safety is one part of the jigsaw puzzle. Yet quite often we see safety people isolated from the strategy and management functions of the organisation, like a mushroom in the dark.

So when you get back to work on Monday morning, think about what you and the company are doing, and is it time to stand up and raise you voice to make change happen. Speak to your senior management and let them know safety is a business function, not just accident prevention.

About the Author Wayne J. Harris:

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Chairman of ISQEM, and a Director of the World Safety Organization (WSO)

So you want to be a Safety Consultant

Safety Consultant ISQEM

By Wayne J Harris

How many times have you got to the end of the week and thought about leaving your present employer and starting your own business?   The dream of being a safety consultant with no rules to follow and a life of financial independence well, in reality that’s not what normally happens.        

Anyone can call themselves a safety consultant, but that does not mean they will be successful just because they have been working in a safety role for many years.  A real consultant needs to have developed and possess very specific qualities and skills in order to be able to work effectively.

If you’re looking at establishing yourself as a safety consultant you need to think very carefully on your approach to starting a new business venture.  Now a health, safety, environmental (HSE) consultant is often described in simple terms as “a competent adviser who can offer a HSE service or range of services” which in reality we all know is a very open statement.

When deciding which type of consultancy you wish to set up you will have to make the decision on which route you want to take; either to be a specialist or a generalist.  Now this is not just a flip of the coin type of decision, you will need to base it on many considerations.

But first of all let’s look at the two common types of safety consultant we would come across in today’s marketplace; the management specialist, and the generalist safety consultant.

Safety Management Consultant

A safety management consultant requires a high-level of skills and unique qualities that will allow them to work in all industries and areas of (HSE) management.  Skills will often include strategy, change management, marketing, business management, finance and technology, etc. 

Safety consultants who work at this level often have extensive experience spread over many years across a diverse range of industries at a senior level.  This type of consultant would be expected to deliver business added value to an organisation.   Generally they produce business risk management solutions and can contribute to large scale organisational safety cultural changes and improvements.

Generalist Safety Consultants

The generalist safety consultant will often focus on one or two areas of expertise, for instance in construction or manufacturing.  They general y offer a narrow range of HSE services and supplement most of their income by conducting routine HSE training courses.

We often find that generalist consultants have spent the majority of their time in the same industry sector and gain knowledge from the trades and then expanded into the safety profession.   The vast majority of safety consultants would fall into this category.

Working as a safety consultant

As a consultant you will be constantly working with new people and in different companies. You will be looked upon as a safety expert and expected to come up with safety solutions to help fix or improve a company’s culture or even reduce their incidents rates.  People will definitely expect you to have a practical approach that is cost effective and sustainable in the long term.   

Having the ability to solve problems is paramount so, having strong influencing skills and being able to come up with solutions or ideas based on logical reasoning and business management is a prerequisite to becoming a safety consultant.

Do you still want to be independent?

First of all consulting is often long hours and requires a safety consultant to deliver work to a deadline under various perimeters.  You will need to take into account that you will often be working on your own with very little or even no back-up support.  Equally important is having a service-oriented personality and approach. 

You may be fantastic at quoting safety practices and legislation, but if you can’t meet the client’s expectations you will not last long. So when choosing  a career in consultancy you will need to consider if your personality, skills, and general business acumen is at a sufficient level that enables you to succeed.

In my next article I will be covering the subject of starting a safety consultancy and the areas you will need to address to be successful in your future career.

Down load as PDF   So you want to be a Safety Consultant

About the Author:  Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce.    

Contact Email:

Part 2: “One skill every Safety Professional needs to know to be successful; Facilitation”

Facilitators Meeting

Part 2 of 2: “Event Delivery”

Now is the time to start the real planning and organisational approach by designing a workable agenda to ensure the successful delivery of the event. Because a facilitator is working with groups, and not individuals, it has it own distinctive dynamics, in that each type of group may need to be handled differently, and have different expectations. The agenda is the foundation stone that must be right or all may fail.

Designing the agenda goes in tandem with designing the group activities. As you cross over between designing the activities and designing the agenda, the event will start to take shape. There will be a big difference between creating an agenda for short duration event, to an event taking place over several days. However the basic principles will always apply.

You will need to structure the agenda around the OHS topics to be discussed and resolved. Keep your topics flowing naturally from one subject matter to the next, and you will find the event will be more productive.

The 75/25 Agenda

You will need to maintain people’s retention span by a combination of structured and well organised sessions. One of the approaches I have established over the years is the 75/25 agenda, which is ideal for change management, from single day’s events to multiple sessions spread over a longer period of time.

The 75/25 agenda, relates to 75% discussion/debate and 25% activities, designed to promote changes in-line with the agreed objectives and outcomes. If you plan the event around this simple rule you will achieve a high participation and success rate with the group.

You will also need to consider time constraints. For best results you should try to keep any event to less than 7 hours per day, this would include frequent coffee breaks and lunch etc. Any more than 7 hours and you will definitely hit a point of disengagement, which can result in destroying a day’s work. Remember you need to leave the team motivated and clearly focused at the end of the day, not tired or irritable.

There are certain things you should always include in your agenda regardless of duration or type of event. This includes:

• The facilitator introduction

This should be given by the requestor of the event, never introduce yourself. The biggest impact you will ever get is when someone else introduces you, it’s like having a stamp of approval, and that you’re the right person to be facilitating the group.

• Opening Introduction

A short opening introduction can be presented by the Facilitator or jointly with the event requestor. You must ensure that you outline what is expected from the participants and the safety outcomes that everyone can expect to achieve. One to thing to keep in mind, it is a facilitated event not a training course. So keep the opening session short and precise.

• Participant introductions.

You will need to consider how to get the participants to introduce themselves to each other. In small groups it is easy to have everyone stand up and give a quick intro. However in large groups you may have to consider alternative methods, such as using team breakout sessions, or pre-prepared introduction sheets.

Break down of the Event Objectives.

Allocate sufficient time against each of the objectives that have been set for the event. Try not to run too tight an agenda and remember the 75/25 rule. That way you will always have some flexibility.
A typical agenda will be a combination of activities or processes to ensure participation. You will need to consider what you wish to include in the agenda very carefully taking into consideration the 75/25 rule. Processes may include:

• Short DVD presentations.

When using DVD’s you must ensure they are appropriate to the audience and event objectives. Ideally if a short 2 or 3 minute DVD can be made with fellow colleagues within the organisation, it will give the participants a direct connection with the message being delivered.

• Breakout groups

Select break out groups carefully. Try where possible to have a diversified mix of people from different age groups, gender and professions. If you can achieve a good group mix you can end up with a broader input of ideas and suggestions for improvement.

• Motivation Activities

There are times when the participants may not know each other, and you may have to use short motivational activities to get people to join in the event. However a bit of advice on this subject, keep it geared to team participation and do not use any games or exercises that could belittle or embarrass a participant.

• Guest Speakers

The use of a guest speaker can be a useful addition to an event. Participants will often listen more intently to people from outside their organisation, who have dealt with similar problems. Try to get a senior speaker who has credibility, that way you participants will feel the information they are being given is creditable.

By the end of the planning stage you should have a solid agenda, which will flow from one item to the next, keeping everyone focused on the OHS objectives and outcomes.

Event logistical considerations

Once you have come up with the agenda and processes, you will need to consider other logistical items. It may seem obvious, but many people still fail to appreciate the location and type of room that may be needed for the event. You must make sure that room is set-up to encourage participation. In small groups the U shape set-up is ideal, in large group events you may have to use several round tables.

The next thing you should consider are the supplies or props you might need. For instance, computers and projectors, white boards, marker pens, flip charts, post-it notes etc. There is nothing worse than a facilitator who is not prepared.

Maintaining control of the event

health and safety consultants

Once the event starts you will need to immediately set the scene and ensure that participants are clear about the agenda, ground rules, and the expectations and outcomes. From the start to finish your role throughout the event is to ensure that people stay focused on the safety objectives and progress towards a successful outcome.

Hopefully you have accepted the importance of being an OHS facilitator and the hard work that goes into establishing and running a successful event. The following are my top tips to help you in maintaining momentum throughout the event:

• Resist Pre-Judgement

Never go down the path of prejudging people or the organisation and developing your own conclusions prior to the event. As a facilitator it is vital that you are perceived as completely objective and are not viewed as taking sides during a discussion, otherwise you will come across as biased, and you’ll lose the trust and respect of everyone.

• Articulate the Problems and event Objective.

The key to any facilitated event is starting with a clear articulated opening introduction and ensuring that all meeting attendees agree with the purpose of the event. Write down the OHS problem areas and key objectives on a whiteboard or pin poster sheets in plain sight of the participants so that everyone can refer back to it throughout the event.

Encourage inclusion of all Participants.

You will need to be observant to what is happening during the event. Take note of anyone who is not speaking, or seem to be lacking interest. You need to watch both verbal and non-verbal aspects of the participants. Body language can have both a positive and negative effect to behaviours of individuals and the group. This also applies equally to the OHS Facilitator.

• Keep things on Track.

Frequently throughout any event you’ll find that a discussion will often drift off course and will not be contributing towards addressing the OHS issue. Your job as facilitator is to bring a discussion back in-line, while at the same time not being so rigid that you’ll stifle the participants. Remember you have an agenda to follow, so stick to it.

• Know when to Park unrelated discussions.

There are times a facilitated event will uncover other important OHS issues which should be captured but are not included in the present objectives. Capture these items in what we call a “parking lot” to be addressed in later discussions or future events. Ensure the parking lot is visible to all participants and refer back to it as necessary.

• Facilitator not Preacher

Facilitating doesn’t mean you should take over an event and start preaching solutions or expressing your own OHS knowledge on the topic at hand. Facilitation means you use your knowledge and skills to help others get to a common, agreed-upon resolution.

• Stopping corporate domination.

I’ve seen too many facilitated events fail due to them being hijacked. This is when the most senior ranking person in the event continually expresses their opinion and subsequently turns the event into a personal agenda. Once this happens other participants will fall to the wayside very quickly afraid to challenge due to fear of potential comebacks. Have a discussion with the senior ranking person before the event to ensure that they understand what effect they may have on the event.

Recoding Outputs of the event

Finally one of the key responsibilities of a facilitator is ensuring the recording of outputs. This does not necessarily mean the OHS facilitator is the one who has to be the physical recorder. From a more productive view-point having a dedicated person to record OHS outputs is the preferred method. Make sure people’s responsibilities are 100% clear, whether they are yours or others involved in the recording process. Remember you are the Facilitator and the guiding and controlling functions must be attended to as a priority.

The best way is to record in a set sequence. One method I use is the W’s, what needs to be done, who needs to do it, when does it needs to be actioned, and what the action resolves. Also make sure you summarise all the action items at the end of the event to ensure everyone’s agreement.
When recording outcomes and actions remember:

• Try to use words that the group uses and if in any doubt, ask them to explain especially if they use trade names or acronyms

• Ensure all decisions and actions are recorded. Ideally using a dedicated person to do this, so that you can stay clearly focused on the group and the process at hand.

• Always check with the group that the recorded decisions are a fair and accurate reflection. Make sure responsibility for action is obtained and recorded when necessary.

• At the end of an event recap on the objectives and summarise all the outputs and actions that have been agreed.

• Post event; follow-up to ensure outstanding actions and issues are progressed, and that the proceedings are brought to a successful conclusion.

However one thing which should remain solely under the facilitator specific responsibility is the collating of information concerning outputs and action parties, preparing a close out report and issuing it to the participants and other appropriate people.

My final Comment

I have touched on several areas of facilitation and the role of an OHS facilitator. I have tried to keep it as simple as possible, so that people can use and adapt to their personal style.

Facilitation is without doubt one of the most important skills you will ever learn and undertake as a safety professional. It will allow you to bring business added value to an organisation and help introduce a change management process that can deliver exceptional results in creating an OHS culture.

Take pride in the role of OHS facilitation, and enjoy watching the ideas and solutions become a reality.

Part 2 A skill every HSE professional needs to know

About the Author; Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years’ experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Email:


How OHS Directors can fail in one of their key functional task, – Delegating

Delegation ISQEM

Delegating responsibility for occupational health and safety (OHS) to all levels of a company is a common statement used by many organisations around the world. Yet quite often we see the main responsibility sitting on the shoulders of the OHS Director or other senior safety staff.

The problem is many people are not taught how to properly delegate and therefore continually make some very common mistakes including:

1.Believing you’re the only one who can do it ( I’m the safety expert syndrome)

This is a natural temptation by some OHS Directors to keep all things safety under their direct control. This naïve approach can result in demoralising your team and severely undermining a safety culture within your organisation. It can also have a direct impact on a director’s ability to add value to the organisation from a strategic and business point of view.

The main role of being an OHS Director should be to direct, getting things done through delegation, and encouraging other people to take on a management and functional responsibility.

2. Delegating without clarity, failing to ensure that you and the other person are on the same page.

Directors often forget to make sure they agree with their staff, about what a successful outcome would look like and then are surprised when the work produced is not what they were expecting. It is vital that everyone is clear on what they will be doing, to what time frame, and any other restraints or conditions that might impact on their delivery.

3. Failing to keep in touch and monitoring progress.

If you have already discussed with your team from the start what you’re expecting, the work should happen according to plan and meet all your expectations, or so you hope. In reality many people are often left on their own to complete a task, with no real constructive follow-up to ensure things are running smoothly and to plan.

Now this does not mean sitting behind a desk and emailing for progress updates. It’s about supporting with resources and removing obstacles, and adapting work plans when necessary. This is the single biggest failure of most people in management positions.

4. False Delegation and holding onto the reins of power.

We have all come across individuals who for various reasons are nervous about delegating and are continuously thinking about what if it goes wrong. They normally start off with allocating the task to a competent member of their team. However they then struggle to let go of the routine work and continue to drive or even worse do the majority of the work themselves.

This false delegation approach leads to total confusion about who is actually responsible for the work being done and builds a lack of trust between team members, resulting in poor performance and low morale.

5. Delegating to the wrong person.

When delegating work you have to be sure that the individual has the appropriate skills and talent to get the job done. Never appoint someone just because they volunteer, or have spare time on their hands. The ability to delegate is one of the most important things you do as an OHS Director, so you have to learn how to do it right, or you will definitely fail in your corporate responsibilities.

6. The Scattergun Approach

The scattergun approach is where a person delegates the same task to several people or departments, hoping to get at least someone to complete the work. This is normally a sign of miss-management by a director and failing to understand the skills of delegation. It is often used by someone who is insecure within their job role and fear criticism of any kind.

By adopting the scattergun approach you will alienate not only your direct team, but also other departments who depend on your support and direction.

So what should you do?

Well, the art of delegation is really simple:

• It’s about identifying what needs to be accomplished,
• finding the right people to do the job
• clearly communicating what you’re expecting to be delivered,
• supporting and following up to ensure you’re getting results;
• and most importantly creating individual responsibility and accountability.

Remember, delegation is the process of assigning or transferring authority, decision making or a specific administrative function from one entity to another.

If you put delegation skills as part of your own professional development requirements, you will be on the right track for successfully supporting your team and company in creating a sustainable safety culture

About the Author; Wayne J Harris

Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce. He is also the Chairman of ISQEM, and a Director of the World Safety Organization (WSO)

The OHS Trainer turned Safety Assassin

Safety Assassin

Sometimes People just get it wrong.

I recently attended a management conference on Strategy and Business Development. Having read the conference agenda I was pleasantly surprised to see they had an OHS practitioner speaking in the final session of the morning on “Corporate OHS Management”. In my mind I was thinking “At last business people will see the value of having OHS as a subject to talk about at a management conference”.

At 11:30am the OHS practitioner was introduced and over 700 senior management delegates from around the world sat waiting to hear why safety is a strategic issue, and hopefully gain some professional insight.

The OHS presenter walked up to the podium, his opening line “There are people in this room that kill and maim people as part of their business”. What followed next was just a relentless stream of slides on what types of accidents can occur, and how to ensure people are trained to cover all safety eventualities known to mankind.

Now the so called presentation was meant to go on for 45 minutes, after around 15 minutes over half the delegates had left the conference room, including me. I can only describe the experience as a torturous and relentless rant, by an individual who had no idea how to present at a conference or even the actual subject matter of his speech.

Now as you can imagine the discussion over lunch was geared around the OHS speaker, and what a cock-up it was by the conference organizers to invite what most people called a safety moron, idiot or similar words to that effect. Without doubt the only thing the speaker managed to do was setback the OHS profession 20 years, hence I called him the safety assassin.

It turned out that the conference organizer had selected the OHS speaker based purely on the fact that he had conducted 100’s of OHS training courses. If the conference organizer had done their home work they would have selected the appropriate speaker, and vetted the presentation prior to the conference. That way they would have prevented the screw-up that occurred on the day.

My Personal Tip.

Now I would like to give a bit of advice, we all know and appreciate that there are some great OHS trainers and consultants in our industry. But that does not always make them the right choice to be a safety speaker at a management conference. Conference organizers need to question the actual experience and exposure of speakers especially when talking at a senior level.

My tip to speakers, before you accept or apply for a speaking slot at a conference ensure that you really are capable of delivering to the audience in the appropriate manner and style. The one thing about the OHS profession you can always ask others for their opinion on if you’re suitable as a speaker, or even get them to vet your speech or presentation.

Remember when you step up to the speaker’s podium your also acting as an ambassador of the OHS profession.


Author;  Wayne  J Harris, Chairman of ISQEM



One skill every Safety Professional needs to know to be successful; Facilitation.

HSE Facilitator

Part 1 of 2: The Facilitator

At one point in their careers nearly every health, safety and environmental (HSE) professional is asked to facilitate at a major corporate event, especially when it comes to continual improvement teams, or strategic change management functions. Now quite often people fail to undertake the role of a facilitator efficiently due to their lack of understanding of the difference between participating in meetings, to facilitation. In complex discussions or those where people have different views and reluctance to make change, good facilitation can make the difference between success and total failure of acceptance of health and safety change management within an organisation.

What is Facilitation?

A simple definition of facilitation is “to make easy” or “assist a process”. It is typically used in business and organisational settings to ensure the establishment and running of successful leadership meetings, team building events, and safety and risk management workshops.

The HSE Facilitator:

What a HSE facilitator does is plan, gives guidance, and manages a group event to ensure that the overall objectives are met effectively. As a facilitator, you are often required to call on a wide range of skills from, logistics, problem solving and decision-making, to team management and communications.

To facilitate effectively, you cannot take sides with individuals or different teams, you must remain a neutral and objective participant. It is not always easy for a HSE professional to take a neutral position, as there are various aspects that may have to be taken into consideration, including legal health and safety requirements. More importantly you need to make sure that you step back from giving detailed content and voicing your own personal views, but remain focused purely on the group involved in the event. Facilitation is about creating an environment that will encourage the other participants within the group to share safety ideas, solutions, and come up with team decisions and conclusions.

You will only have one chance when it comes to facilitating a HSE event. You must first understand the group’s desired outcome, and the background and context of the meeting or event, as the main part of your responsibility is to ensure that the organisational dynamics of the event are met:

Design and Planning Stage:

From a design and planning stage you must ensure you conduct a consultation with the event requester. It is important you know what they want to achieve, plus the actual outcomes they expect both short and long-term. Do not be surprised if the requestor is unsure of what they want to accomplish at the event, which is why they have called you in as their HSE facilitator. Once the group’s objectives have been established your role is to choose and design the appropriate process to follow, and develop an effective agenda.

Planning to meet expectations:

It does not matter if you are planning a single one-off meeting, or a complex workshop involving several sessions or even multiple days. It is important to keep in mind the group’s eventual outcomes and how you are going to help them to reach it. Remember:

• If the facilitation process covers multiple sessions and topics, make sure that you are clear about both the desired outcome and process for each stage, and that it contributes to the outcome of the complete event.
• Two key aspects of the design and planning stage is choosing the right management tools and processes and combining them into a realistic agenda meeting the participant’s expectations.

Guide and Control the Group for Success:

There are as many ways to guide a group and choosing the right process is unique to the audience you will be dealing with. Selecting either one or several styles may be required, especially if the group consists of different employee levels within the group. This is especially relevant when it comes to occupational health and safety, or environmental practices and management; this is something that the HSE facilitator learns through experience and continual professional development. However basic principles do apply and a facilitator should ensure:

• A realistic agenda has been developed and agreed between the facilitator and the requestor of the event.
• That the personal values expected from everyone during the event are defined and communicated prior to the start of the event, and reiterated when and if required.
• All HSE contributions are considered and included in the ideas, solutions, and decisions
• Participants know that they take shared responsibility for the outcome of the event.
• That outcomes, actions and questions are properly recorded, and communicated.
• That there is effective and shared participation by everyone.
• The event keeps to its objectives and does not stray into other business subjects or personal agendas.

Open or Structured Events:

The other key factors to consider in both the planning and designing stages are how people want the event to actually run. This may be a single open discussion, or a structured event controlled by defined processes.

The Open discussion:

An open discussion, may be the viable and simplest option when the events are related to one or two specific objectives and involving technical professionals within the same field of expertise; such as construction engineers; but you need to ask yourself whether you will be able to manage the discussion and achieve the objectives with this process. Remember a team of specialists are more likely to ponder on debate and technical questioning, more so than a mixed group of professions.

The Structured Control Process:

By adopting a structured process approach you are more likely to cover the variety of topics needed and appropriate for large groups or events that may be spread over several sessions, or even days. This allows you to use a combination of processes from break out groups, to safety incident case studies, guest speakers and brain storming sessions. The skill is to establish the right processes that you can use to generate enough ideas and solutions.

Consider the Participants of the Event:

When it comes to the event participants, it is vital that you gain as much information as possible and review and discuss with the event initiator especially if you have any concerns that could affect the HSE outcomes. Unfortunately you may have constraints placed on you as a facilitator in regards to participants and may not be able to make changes. However, you may be able to change the structure of the event to optimize the processes and agenda. In regards to the participants consider:

• The number of participants that are going to attend the event.
• The nature and number of health and safety topics to be raised within the discussions.
• The type of involvement people need to have, i.e. Breakout team leaders, white board writers.
• The background and skills levels of the participants.
• How well individuals know the subject matter of HSE.
• The relationship levels between individuals or departments. For example, has there been conflict in the past over safety or environmental compliance or enforcement.
• The time frame you have available to help the participants to achieve their outcomes.

Remember, whatever group you end up working with, it’s a question of keeping your focus on the eventual outcomes. As a facilitator you need to find the best way to achieve the occupational health and safety objectives of the overall event, and support the group from start to finish. As I have stated already neutrality is important. If you have a direct interest in the outcome of the group, or have the experience, or authority that requires you to be included as a participant, then you need to consider bringing in an external facilitator.

In the second part of my article (Part 2 – “Event Delivery” ), I will be delving into the subject of facilitation in more detail, setting up the event agenda, and how to establish and programme the processes you will be using. I will also be sharing several useful tips which will hopefully assist you in becoming a proficient health and safety facilitator.

Note: Part 2 of this article will be published on the 13th July 2013

About the Author; Wayne J Harris

Wayne is a highly regarded international specialist in developing corporate risk and HSE management systems with over 30 years experience within high-risk environments. He has advised major organisations both private and governmental, on key issues of strategy and organisational risk and safety management. Wayne’s experience in dealing within the international arena and multiple cultures from Europe, Asia-Pacific, to the Middle East has given him a comprehensive understanding of the global risk issues facing an organisation in today’s business economy. He has held various senior corporate roles, and has sat on the Board of Directors of several companies including a Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Email:

MBO or PMF, It’s easy to screw up in Safety management.

In the following article I have raised the subject of Management by Objectives (MBO) and Programme or Management Failures (PMF). We often see MBO stated as a key driver to achieve potential benefits in all aspects of management, and in particular in today’s quest to improve adherence to safety standards and processes.

Health and Safety practitioners have often been attracted by the reputed benefits of MBO and the part they play in increasing compliance, improved planning, there use as key performance indicators, improved employee morale, and the development of company culture. Yet many organisations are still not seeing major safety improvements despite setting up a stream of objectives to manage their overall corporate risk.

In order that an organisation can realise business added value from an investment in change management process they need to select the right MBO programme. If safety objectives are chosen purely as a gimmick or promotion of some safety incident reduction scheme, it is more likely to fail. Establishing your MBO must be for the right reasons, it needs to be embedded effectively and efficiently, to have positive outputs.

For MBO to be effective and sustainable in any organisation there has to be total commitment given by the board members, and other key stakeholders. Furthermore, the organisation must be prepared to commit the resources and time to implement MBO. If the organisation fails to implement the changes effectively, the potential benefits are not realised, and the only outcomes you will see will be PMF.

What is an Objective?

An objective is defined in various different ways however from a health and safety management aspect I believe the following is most appropriate; “A specific result that a person or organisation aims to achieve within a specified time frame and with allocated resources” in addition we also take into consideration “SMART” which is a common approach adopted by many organisations:

Specific: The objective must not be too broad, avoid too many multiple tasks to achieve and make sure it’s understood by all stakeholders.

Measurable: Self explanatory – you must be able to measure success against the objective.

Achievable: It must be possible to achieve the objective.

Relevant: The objective must compliment over objectives and the company strategy, and be relevant to the person/department the objective is being set.

Time-based: Have a specific date as to then the objective must be met. Don’t leave objectives open-ended.

In management terms, objectives are specific and easier to measure than goals, supporting planning and strategic activities of the organisation. They can also serve as the foundation for policy creation and evaluation of performance levels. If you follow the basic SMART principal you are unlikely to fail in delivering your MBO programme.

Programme or Management Failures with Safety Objectives

There are numerous reasons encountered in MBO programmes that can cause them to fail which include: lack of organizational commitment and support, lack of research and planning, lack of defined prerequisites to implementation, failure to integrate individual and organizational goals, and an overemphasis on attainment of measurable objectives such as accident frequency rates.

The first thing we have to accept is that failure of MBO is often caused by either lack of adequate management capabilities and experience, or poor organisational initiation strategy which fails to establish a practicable framework for success. To make it easier I have set out 4 main areas that have direct effect or failure in connection with safety objectives.

Programme Management Failure Causation Factors


The idea of management by objectives (MBO), was outlined by world renowned management guru, Peter Drucker in his book “The Practice of Management”, published in 1954, Drucker outlined a number of priorities for the manager of the future. Top of the list was that he or she “must manage by objectives”. Drucker also pointed out that managers often lose sight of their objectives because of something he called “the activity traps”. This is where people get so involved in their current activities that they forget their original purpose. In some cases it may be that they become engrossed in an activity as a means of avoiding the uncomfortable truth about their organisation’s condition.

My final comment:
I wrote the above article in June, 2003, with a purpose of highlighting that corporate safety objectives need to be planned and managed or they will fail. The use of MBO is still being used 10 years later by many safety departments around the world, with various degrees of success. I hope people think twice before they pump out their next annual list of safety objectives and remember:

MBO is not the answer to all problems or a quick fix to management inefficiency. Management by safety objectives will only work if you know what you want to achieve as an organisation, and are capable and willing to commit the necessary resources

Download a PDF copy of this article with full size graphics Click on title below;
MBO or PMF, it’s easy to screw up in Safety Management

Wayne J Harris
First Published on 16th June 2003