First Steps in a New Safety Job

First Steps New Job Basic

By the late George Robotham

An inexperienced OHS person recently asked me what they should do when starting in a new OHS position. Rightly or wrongly here is what I told her-

Talk to the senior leaders about what they want / need / expect. Bear in mind what they say will probably reflect a strategic view and you will need input from workers and supervisors to get the operational view. Get management suggestions for improvement. Ask leaders what they do to implement safety and what their successes and failures have been.

Meet with the safety team if there is one. Gauge their capacity and understand their issues. You may wish to have a team building activity.

Examine and evaluate the OHS paper trail-Policy, procedure, accident investigation reports, minutes of safety meetings, minutes of safety committee meetings etc.

Examine previous audit reports.

Send out a self introduction with some important safety messages

Spend sufficient time in the field to build relationships and understand the issues.

Conduct force-field analysis with a cross section of employees. A separate one with senior management may be the starting point

It may be decided to carry out a new audit

Carry out a safety learning needs analysis

Speak to the regulator, unions and outside stakeholders

Based on above develop an OHS management plan for discussion with management, approval and communication with the workforce.

Implement / review / evaluate the OHS management plan

Refer to First Steps New Job Summary and What Makes a Safety Management System Fly for further detail

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