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How can someone reach the top of the profession and become a leader in OHS?

May 4, 2013

Wayne Harris Chairman of ISQEM

During my travels I’m often asked the question “how can someone reach the top in our profession and be recognised as a leader of OHS”. I have listed below the top ten things that I recommend to people who either work for me, or I have mentored.

1. Think outside of the box and challenge normal ways of doing EHS.
2. Make sure you do not stagnate in one industry sector, be diverse and learn.
3. Think, act and talk like a businessman as well as an EHS professional.
4. Learn skills such as marketing, Public Relations, HR and finance.
5. Create your own personal image to reflect what you want to achieve.
6. Network at the right levels of the profession.
7. Visibility, get known locally and internationally.
8. Keep your knowledge up to date with latest trends, good and bad ones.
9. Seek and take advice when you need it
10. Always remember it takes a team to really make a success, so never claim you did it all yourself.

I know we can add all types of other attributes and values we need to adopt such as, communication, trust, respect, integrity, sensitivity etc., but what people need to do is have hard look at how they are perceived by others.

One of the main problems I have come across for people failing to progress in the safety industry is that they are out of date with business needs and the commercial world. In today’s economic climate OHS professionals need to bring true business added value to their organisation.

Wayne Harris
Chairman of ISQEM

3 Comments
  1. Lori permalink

    Thank you for your article Wayne
    The problem with most safety professionals failing to achieve is three fold, firstly they fail to understand business. Safety is not and will never be a number one priority in Business-making money is-the responsibility of the Safety Professional us to assist in providing a system which facilitates this by identifying, calculating and mitigating risk, and secondly the Business needs to recognise that although Safety, Quality and Environment fundamentally follow the same Management System principles, they are also three distinct fields of expertise and until they recognise this and quit trying to ‘batch’ manage these with one person I.e. providing sufficient resource-you will not make the breakthrough into a safety culture. Thirdly, and most importantly, unless Businesses equip their Management teams with tools and techniques for managing risk (including resources of time, money and authority) it will always be someone else’s responsibility to manage safety and not inherent in everyday Business.

  2. My pleasure Lori, I believe your statement says it all, ” unless Businesses equip their Management teams with tools and techniques for managing risk (including resources of time, money and authority) it will always be someone else’s responsibility to manage safety and not inherent in everyday Business” .

    I hope you visit the blog on a regular basis as I will be posting here every week on different subject matters connected with leadership, corporate strategy, and HSE professional development

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